Happy St Patrick’s Day.

 HAPPY ST PATRICK’S DAY
 Did you know that St Patrick’s Day, is the second biggest festival celebrated in the world after Christmas?  Why?  Ireland, this small island on the edge of Europe has many diaspora all over the world.  And where ever the Irish are they remember the Irish Patron Saint, Patrick.  It is a day for the wearing of the green.
St Patrick’s Centre lit up with green lights.  St Patrick’s grave is situated in the graveyard of the Church behind this centre.
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Wherever you live in the world I am sure you have heard of St Patrick.  Maybe you have Irish ancestors.  We travel to Canada and we meet people there who love Ireland even though they have never been here.  Some of our friends there have some relative in their  family line that came from Ireland.
Many people come to visit Ireland wanting to see where their ancestors come from.  Even some presidents of America claim to have Irish ancestors.  Information on the Internet has helped people with their searches.  We have had American students visit Ireland and they break into tears when they see the homeland where their forebears lived.
The Irish are in different parts of the world for various reasons.  In the 1800s there was a terrible famine in Ireland.  The population dropped to 4 million, because of death and exile.  In the 1600s some Irish were sent into Europe and the East Indies as slaves by Cromwell.
Down through the years the young people left Ireland for work in England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and America.
Patrick came and lived among the Irish and through his love, and example he brought the love of God to the people.  It is said he used the Shamrock a small plant with three small leaves to explain the Trinity, three persons in the Godhead.  The Irish wear the Shamrock on St Patrick’s day.
Early Christians travelled to Scotland and down into Europe as far as Slovakia.  Brendan was in  Switzerland in 2012 to celebrate six hundred years since St Gallian went there from Ireland.
With living on an Island the Irish became sea faring people.  They built small wooden curraghs. The Irish monks travelled by small curraghs up the rivers of Europe.  St Brendan travelled with others to the land we now know as Canada on a boat made of wood and sealskins.
At one time in the nineteenth century there were eight million people living here.  Many lived in small holdings but were able to grow oats and potatoes, kept a few chickens.  A cow would have been kept for milk. They were able to live off their produce.  Porridge was made from the oats and the women made their own bread.  Soda bread and potato bread can only be bought in Ireland.
I grew up on a farm.  My mother baked bread, we had chickens, we had milk from the cows.  We did not go hungry.  Only on a Sunday did we have a chicken, a stew or soup. We lived well and dad and mum reared ten children.  We did not go hungry.  We were content.
We have a Christian heritage that has come down the generations from the days of St Patrick.  In the twentieth century many missionarys went from Ireland again to the nations, especially into India and Africa and set up schools and hospitals.   My mother’s sister worked in Nigeria around the 1960s.
Ireland had become infamous in the 1970s because of the war in Northern Ireland.  Injustice, bitterness, hatred, division and poverty erupted into war between people from Catholic and Protestant backgrounds.  What a shame it has brought to the name of Jesus.  Nations have looked at us and said God is love.  How come Christians are fighting one another.   In Russia and India people heard of the bombs and bullets.
In Chronicles the Word of God says “If my people will humble themselves and pray, and turn from their wicked ways I will heal their land.”  People began to pray.  I attended a woman’s prayer group.  We represented the different denominations in our country.  As we prayed we found the only One who brings forgiveness and reconciliation, Jesus.  Before he died on the cross he said about those who crucified him,  “Forgive them because they know not what they do”.  After thirty years the war ceased.  Thanks God for his mercy.
Ex President Clinton visited Derry recently and encouraged us that he is travelling all over the world to negotiate peace between warring groups.  He uses the example of the Northern Ireland as a place that lives in peace after thirty years of war.
May we travel again as missionaries of the Gospel, like St Patrick and bring the love of God, forgiveness  and reconciliation to the nations.

My Youngest Daughter packed up her Little Treasures and said Goodbye to her Bedroom

My youngest daughter was five years old when she moved to this house.  She shared a room with her older sister for a few years.  Then she had the big room all to herself.  She enjoyed the luxury of a double bed, a big study table and just space.
When she went to the grammar school she learnt the double bass.  She had this big instrument in her room to do her practice lessons.
Her six older brothers were envious of her.  Some of them still had to share a room.
My daughter had her friends round to play.  They enjoyed her big house as well.  They spent many hours doing whatever young girls do.
She listened to her CDs, worshiped God and prayed.  Angels watched over her.
This home was just beside her school.  She was able to walk to school and when she was older ran down home for lunch.  No stress.  Some mornings I would walk with my young children up to school.  It was good to hear the screams of the children at play in the playground.
Some of her friends would venture into the garden on their way home from school and want a turn on our big swing.  They squeeled with delight.
Now my daughter has gone to university.  I know she had a very happy childhood living in this big old house.  She packed up all her treasures when she was home recently and said goodbye to her big room in this big house.  The room will miss her.

Don’t Get on The Train! Don’t Get On The Train!

I was watching a program recently about the Holocaust of the Jews.  It was about Jews from Prague who were put on a train that would take them to a village only forty miles away.  But it was at train that brought them to their death.
The village was specially chosen because it had high walls around it and easy to be controlled.   They thought they were going to a new life where they could live together with their families.  They were deceived into thinking this by their oppressors, Hitlers army.  When they arrived there they were stripped of their identity, families separated, photographs of their families ripped up before their eyes, and told you will never see your family again.

When Jesus was fasting and praying in the wilderness.  The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.  If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ ” (Luke 4:5-8 NIV)
Satan is ruling over the kingdoms of this world.  When Jesus died on the cross he broke the power of Satan over the world.  Satan still rules over peoples’ minds and hearts if they do not know the truth.  If one believes in Jesus then Satan does not have control over his mind.  Jesus promises to deliver us from the kingdom of Satan and enter into Jesus kingdom.  We pray thy kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.  We enter into his kingdom on Earth where we let Jesus be in control of our life.   He promises to care for us and deliver us in our time of trouble.
In heaven there is peacejoy, love, harmony, and beauty.  We can have this on earth as well.  Everyone wants peace on earth.  A place where there is no more war.  We can have this by trusting in Jesus.
He said to his disciples
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:26, 27 NIV)
So do not let anyone deceive you and tell you anything that is not the truth.  Do not believe the lies of the devil that there is no God.  Do not let him steal your identity as a child of God.  Do not let him separate you from family and friends.  Do not get on the train that will bring you to death.  Jesus in John 10 v 10 says ” I came to give you life and abundant life.  The devil comes to rob, steal and destroy.”
Don’t get on the Train.

How my Plans were Directed by the Inspiration of a Hymn

 

The day before I was due to travel to Jerusalem, I awoke singing the hymn, “Nearer my God to Thee.”  I had not been singing this hymn or heard it for a very long time.   I only knew a few verses.  I sang them over and over before I got out of bed.

I looked up the internet to find out all the words.  The hymn was written by Sarah Adams in the Nineteenth century and inspired by Genesis 28 v 11 to 19

 “So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it…”  

Here are the words.

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me;

Still all my song shall be nearer, my God, to Thee,

Chorus: Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Though like a wanderer, the sun gone down.  

Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;

Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee,

Chorus

There let the way appear steps unto heav’n;

All that Thou sendest me in mercy giv’n;

Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee,

Chorus

Then with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,

Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;

So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee,

Chorus

Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky,

Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upwards I fly,

Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.

Chorus

I Iistened to the hymn being sung on u tube.  I was enjoying this early morning praise, when I was rudely interrupted by the door bell.  My neighbour came to tell me our car was just stolen from the car park, in broad daylight. I let my husband deal with it.  

Police were contacted.  The thief had entered our home through the back door, stole the keys from the kitchen and started the car.  All this happened while I was upstairs listening to the hymn!  I thought to myself, “Something good is going to come out of this.”

Next day we left for Israel.  We were meeting friends there.  They wanted to see the historical sites in the old City of Jerusalem.

One morning Brendan was reading from a book about Jacob having a dream in Bethel.  I said “I want to go to Bethel.”

That morning I had been reading in the bible from Exodus 20 v 24

“Build altars in the places where I remind you who I am, and I will come and bless you there.” Jacob had built an altar to God at Bethel after he had the dream.  

So I said “I think we should go there.”  A  week later we all agreed to go to Bethel.  We hired a Taxi.  We drove thirty kilometres north.  We came to the city of Ramallah.  Bethel was three miles from there.  Our driver took us to the site when Jacob had his dream.

It was wonderful to look out over the land of Israel from the spot where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived so long ago.  

The house with the domed roof is the site of Jacob’s dream.

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“Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants. ” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him. After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the Lord, and he worshiped the Lord. (Genesis 12:7, 8 NLT)

Photo taken from inside the domed building.

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We went down to the site where it is said to be the place where Jacob had his dream.  That was a special moment for us all.  I believe we were blessed by God there, just as I read from the bible a week earlier.  Many are the plans of a man but God directs his path.  I believe we were directed by God to go to Bethel.  Three things happened to lead us,  Bethel mentioned in the Hymn, Brendan reading about it in his book and my reading from the bible.  Let everything be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses.  

We return home tomorrow.  We will look for a new car!