Peter Rabbit

Every evening my son and children would be frantic looking for their escaped pet rabbit.

Last summer he was given a pet rabbit. His children named him Peter Rabbit. It was pre-owned but not pre-loved. When a bunny is young it is furry and cuddly, and is attractive as a live pet instead of a fluffy toy that doesn’t breathe. But a pet needs looked after, fed, watered and space to sleep and run. It may not take to being cuddled or it can mess up the kitchen if kept indoors. Soon the novelty of a pet rabbit wears off. Peter Rabbit had grown up, had a mind of his own and didn’t want to be cuddled any more. It wanted adventure.

At first Peter joined in with my son’s children when they were playing in their back garden. An elderly neighbour who lived on his own commented that he loved to hear the children play and listen to their squeals of delight when they played happily together. He would have heard a different cry when they would fall or fight but he didn’t mention that part.

The two older boys played together. The third child wasn’t always included in their play so he made friends with Peter Rabbit. He was chased round the garden or often got soaked when the boys were playing with the hose as their dad watered the garden. When bedtime came mum and dad were busy making dinner and getting their young family to bed. Toy tractors, diggers, buckets and spades were scattered where the children left them. Peter Rabbit was forgotten about. He made his own way into his bed in the shed for the night.

School term started, cold days came and the little children were not out playing in the garden as often. Peter Rabbit was alone. He began to find his way beyond the garden squeezing under the gate. He wanted to explore. He survived cars, dogs and cats in the neighbourhood. Of an evening when mum would return from a school run a neighbour would return Peter Rabbit. This happened a few times. Eventually the neighbours gave up. But Peter Rabbit always found his way home for the night.

Soon this young family were feeling hemmed in and needed for more space for their growing family.  Mum and dad busied themselves through the winter keeping up the routine of getting children to school, making meals and caring for their children. The young family and Peter Rabbit survived the winter.

My son began to look for a bigger house. They would ideally have loved to move to the country. But there was nothing suitable available. God cares for the little children. He cares for the parents. He understood our son and daughter in law’s pressure in rearing a young family.  He even cares for our pets.

A friend of their’s told them a house was available near where she lived in town. It wasn’t on the open market yet. Would they be interested in looking at it?  They went along to view it. It was a big old house with a walled in garden and a green house with two grape vines in it. When I heard about the grapes I said, “That is the house for them”.

They were a bit daunted at first. “How will they heat it?” “Can they afford it?” But look at the grapes. It is private, it is safe for the children, no one overlooking your garden. It has a sunny aspect! The estate agent suggested my son put in an application. The house would be freshly painted and carpets cleaned for the new owner.

I was totally confident that God would provide a bigger home for my son and his family.  I believed God for our growing family and he has always provided.  In Numbers 33 v 53 I read,

“Take possession of the land and settle in it, because I have given it to you to occupy. You must distribute the land in proportion to their size. A bigger tribe gets more land.”

I went to visit my son and his family a few days ago in their new home. The front door opened into a bright hallway, already family photos on the wall, a spacious living room, kitchen, play room full of toys and bedrooms. More than they could ask or think.  The back door opens onto the garden, a natural sun trap. They had their breakfast out on the lawn on their first morning. What freedom and beauty.  The Lord has given my son his promised land!

We sat down in the sun for a cup of coffee together. I marvelled at the goodness of God in the land of the living. A Robin flew past me and landed in the hedge behind. It then perched on a chair and pecked some crumbs from the table. Peter rabbit was munching happily nearby. The young children played together somewhere in the big garden. We heard their voices. Mum and dad could enjoy time relaxing in the sun having coffee secure knowing their children were safe. Peter Rabbit won’t want to escape again.

My son and children won’t be frantic looking for their pet rabbit again.

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

Subdue The Land

Adam and Eve lived in a garden.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”  Genesis 1

When God delivered the people of Israel from Egypt he wanted them to go into the Promised Land.  He told them to subdue it.

He said to them, “If the Gadites and Reubenites, every man armed for battle, cross over the Jordan with you before the Lord, then when the land is subdued before you, you must give them the land of Gilead as their possession.  Numbers 32 v 29

One of the meanings of “subdue” is “bring under control.”
God intends that we subdue that for which we have responsibility, whether it be work, family, property or land.  We will have the strength to do it.  God is pleased when we obey him.

I decided today I would subdue my garden after reading this scripture.

Despite our recent cold spell, when we had snow and wind, seed time is here.  I had been reluctant to work in the garden due to the bad weather.

Genesis 8 v 22. “As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”

The days have more light and the earth is warming up.  Plants, whose leaves died back over the winter are putting forth shoots.  Leaves are breaking out of their wrappings on the branches.  The cycle of nature takes its course despite the windy cold blasts that would make one stay inside warm.  The daffodils broke forth a month ago giving us beauty.  Their yellow trumpets swayed in the winds and remained till their time of glory passed.

I saw some tomato plants for sale at a bargain price in a local shop.  The garden centres would charge much more.  They tempted me to start some gardening even though it felt too chilly to do any outdoor work.  I planted them out in the safety of the greenhouse.  Last years tomato plants didn’t need much attention and produced fruit well into autumn.  Just plant them and wait for the harvest.  That doesn’t seem like hard work.

There is a plot of land beside my house.  In former years the land would have been a farmer wife’s garden.  It has been neglected for years, no longer lovingly tended.  Last year it produced of itself nettles and curling weeds that stood strong and tall all summer.   I did not have the courage to invade their territory.  Thankfully the winter defeated them and the shoots withered.

I planned this year to get out early and cut back any new growth.  My son strimmed that area a few weeks ago.  The grass, nettles and weeds made a come back.  Today I determined to go to war against the weeds.  I was not put off by the cool wind.  These weeds will sprout overnight!  I used my lawn mower as my weapon of war.  I powered my way over the rough ground and all before the mower was mulched.  I subdued my land!

I will plant potatoes that will flourish in the fertile soil.  It has been left fallow for years.  Wherever nettles grow, one can be sure the soil is good.  No back breaking work for me digging up the soil.  No, I will drop each potato in a small overturned sod and let nature take its course.  I have the added benefit of having a ready supply of fertiliser for my garden.  I live beside the sea.  I have gathered seaweed that was washed up from storms in the winter time.

I will be sure of having a harvest of potatoes and tomatoes at least in the autumn and all without much effort. The garden will once more be lovingly tended and enjoyed for the food it will produce.  I will wait to see what other seedlings the local shop will offer for my garden.  For now the potatoes are busy sending out roots unseen underground.  The tomato plants are enjoying my green house.

It is amazing that each spring the plants begin to emerge out of the soil.  Isaiah 61 v 11 explains,
“The soil makes the young plant come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
Abundant life comes forth!  I rejoice to see what the scriptures describe, happen before my eyes in my garden.  I will praise Him.

A Promised land with Fruit Trees.

I am in Slovakia today.  I had bread and honey for breakfast.

The harvest is gathered from the plum, grape, apricot and apple trees.  Some trees are already pruned. Overstretched branches are loped off and dressed with white paint to protect from disease.   Winter will begin soon.  The fruitful trees can rest.

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I glimpsed rich, red colours on the fence between my son’s garden and his neighbour.  I ventured outside to take a closer look.   Lovely apples were growing on a tree trained to grow sideways.  They sparkled in the afternoon sunshine.  The nutritious cluster outnumbered the leaves left on the branches.  Healthful fruit left untouched.  No excited child’s hand to grab them.  No careful gardener to proudly harvest and share his fruit.

Perhaps the neighbour is too old or frail.  Maybe no grandchildren squealing with joy as they chase each other between the fruitful boughs.  When I enter my son’s hallway there is a sweet smell.  Boxes of red apples are piled high, the harvest from his garden.  A bag is filled each time he visits relatives or friends.

My son Aaron moved with his family to Slovakia.  He has inherited a house he didn’t build and a garden he didn’t tend.

You made their children as numerous as the stars in the sky, and you brought them into the land.  Their children went in and took possession of the land.  They captured fortified cities and fertile land; they took possession of houses filled with all kinds of good things, wells already dug, vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees in abundance. They ate to the full and were well-nourished; they reveled in your great goodness. (‭Nehemiah‬ ‭9‬:‭23-25‬ NIV)

So I have come down to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey. (‭Exodus‬ ‭3‬:‭8‬ NIV)

God is faithful to keep his promises.  When I first read the story in the bible that God wanted his people to enter the promised land I believed it.  He promised them plenty of bread, honey, fruit and houses.  Now my children are inheriting their promised land.

Refreshment in a Land flowing with Milk and Honey.

I believe holidays are not a luxury, they are a necessity.
In this busy world, work and other activities demand our time and energy until one is worn out. I thought it important for us as a family, even though a big family, to get away for a summer break. We had valuable time together creating memories.

Brendan and I are staying in Limerick.  It is a little bit different this year.  We are on our own, instead of eight, nine or twelve of us.  A friend offered us the use of his home while he and his family are on their holidays.  We usually take a holiday at the beginning of May to recharge our batteries after winter and work schedules.  There was no time free in May this year.  My body was weary and needing some attention.  I dreamed of travelling west in Ireland to be refreshed seeing the mountains and green valleys.  I decided to help Brendan continue prepare for people who were coming to stay with us. I continued to dream.

June was busy with guests from Alabama and India.  The day before guests arrived our friend called to offer us his home in Adare at the end of June.  When Brendan told me I was delighted.  God is faithful.  He knew my need of rest and he provided.   As we shared our home with others, God inspired another person to share his home with us.

A man reaps what he sows.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (‭Galatians‬ ‭6‬:‭7, 9‬ NIV)

Thirty years ago, our friend offered us the use of his home.  We had eight children at the time.  It was a generous gesture.  Not everyone wants to let a big family have the run of their home.  We were able to visit the local tourist scenes and go to the beach when the sun shone.  The children played about in the fields nearby or at the beach like young calves released from the stall.  We have stayed in his home many times down through the years.  He is a blessing.

Kerry and Limerick are famous for the production of milk. Lush, thick grass grows all the year round to support the herds of Friesien cows. There are plenty of green pastures. It is a land flowing with milk like the Promised Land.

Back then people were in conflict in Nothern Ireland.  There was pressure in the atmosphere.  Everyone was under a cloud.  From that year on we went for two weeks in July for holidays to Limerick, Donegal or Kerry.  We enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and warm welcome wherever we travelled.  We always returned to the  North of  Ireland refreshed.

A Scene That Brought Back Childhood Memories.

My husband and I were out for a drive one evening.
There were road works on the main road into town so we took another route.
We came upon a farmer bringing his cows in from the field to be milked.
It was just as well we were not in a hurry.
The docile creatures with full udders ambled back to the farm yard.
I thought of the scripture, 

“The Ox knows its master.”  Isaiah 1 v 3

The farmer opens the gate and the cattle lift their heads and turn for home.
We drove behind the farmer patiently.

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I said to my husband “This reminds me of my childhood.”
I grew up in Co Down.  My father was a dairy farmer too.
I remembered my sisters and I bringing the cattle back from the meadow in the summer evenings.
The cows would swish the flies away with their tails.
We had a pet cow that let us have a lift on her back home.
Cattle grazing in the meadow beside a stream, where there is fresh water is a picture of abundance.

He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭30‬:‭23‬ NIV)

The Lord describes the Promised Land as a place flowing with milk and honey.
Wherever there is cattle one will not grow hungry.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’  I will send an angel before you..
Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. (‭Exodus‬ ‭33‬:‭1, 3‬ NIV)

My parents worked the farm to raise ten children.  We had plenty of milk, cream, buttermilk and butter, rich food to feed us.

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds.
Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt. 
(Genesis 41 v 18 NIV)

The picture of the cows walking home to be milked has stayed with me.
We have often spent holidays in Co Kerry, Ireland.
Last time we were there a herd of ninety cows filed past to the back of our house at six every morning and evening. They knew it was time for milking.
The farmer did not even have to call them.
I believe God was showing me His provision of abundance then as well.
Let us believe God’s word today.
Let us have faith to enter into our inheritance of a land flowing with milk and honey.

How we got a Big House for our Big Tribe, our Promised Land

 

Then The Lord  said to Moses, “Divide the land among the tribes, and distribute the land in proportion to the tribes’ populations, as indicated by the number of names on the list. Give the larger tribes more land and the smaller tribes less land, each group’s inheritance reflecting the size of ite population.  (Numbers 26:52-54 NLT)
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When our tribe became sixteen, we were outgrowing the house in which we lived.  Five  of our older children had left home.  Our home then was suitable enough for my children who were toddlers or under ten.  But I knew as my boys got bigger they were going to need more space.
I began to pray and ask God to for a bigger home.  His word promises “The Lord will supply all you needs.”  I needed a bigger house for my tribe.
 I was encouraged by the scripture I have mentioned above.  I was believing God would provide a big house for my big family.  He blessed me with my children so I believed God would help me rear them and provide a home for them.
 Many people believe one is crazy for having a big family.  In these times getting married is not popular and having children is even less popular.  “Where will you get the money for a big house.”  “It must be very expensive to feed and clothe your children.”  “How will you pay for their education.”  I had faith for each day and not worry about tomorrow.
Jesus said “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:31, 33, 34 NLT)
Having Faith in God takes off all the pressure.  God is not a liar.  When he promises to do something he will bring it about.  Our part is to believe, be patient and not doubt or give up hope.  The danger can be when one has to wait a long time for the fulfilment of a promise, the temptation is to give up hope.  Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”Proverbs 13 v 12.
 I tried to move to the country.  There is space in the country, my children could roam over fields, like I did as a child. I saw a large Presbyterian Manse for sale.  We showed our interest in buying it but were refused.  I found another big house to let in the country,  but again was rejected.  I kept looking.  We tried to move down to Kerry.  That did not work out and I was bitterly disappointed.  I had been hoping for five years for a bigger home.  I gave up.  My husband said he would do an extension in the house in which we lived.  I did not want to hear.  I fell out with God and stopped praying.  But he didn’t fall out with me.  He had his plans.
 A friend of mine, a single mum with four children was praying for a new home.  Her children got sick during the winter because of the cold house in which she lived.   She found this beautiful house to rent.  I thought “God has helped my friend.  He will help me.”  My faith was restored and I began to believe again that God would help us.
 A few months later my husband had a picture of a man he knew from the past.  He would see this picture every morning for three weeks.  At last he called this man up and talked to him about our interest in finding a bigger home.  He is an estate agent.  He lived in another part of the country, in County Down.  That is where I lived when I was young.  Would God bring me back to live there? Another scripture came to mind.
At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the Lord.. (Zephaniah 3:20 NIV)
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We waited another five months.  Our house sale completed.  We had to move in October.  We called up the man Brendan connected with many months earlier.  We went down to meet him and his wife and they welcomed us and were willing to help us. No more rejection.  We prayed together and asked God to guide us.  We need other members of the body of Christ.
Our new friend was able to find a house suitable for us.  It was owned by the nuns from the convent where I went to school when I was young.  We got favour because they remembered me and our family.   We lived there for a year.  It gave us time to settle in this new area and for our children to adapt to their new schools.
We met regularly with other people who prayed.  They were praying for us to have a permanent home.  We did find a house suitable for our needs.  We were welcomed in our new community.
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God gave us land according to the size of our tribe.  Thank you Lord.  He is faithful.  Our children grew tall and flourished in their new home and big garden.  They made new friends.  They could walk to school.  No stress.