Lamps filled with Oil.

Two days before Jesus was arrested and brought to be crucified, he spoke to his disciples. One of the last parables he spoke to them about was the story of the ten virgins.

““At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.
The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.
The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭25:1-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When Jesus was with his disciples he spoke to them about many things which they did not have had clear understanding about. It was after he died and rose again that they began to think about what he had told them.

The disciples received the Holy Spirit when they were waiting and praying together in the upper room. Jesus told them to wait till they received power from on high. After they received the Holy Spirit they were bold and proclaimed about Jesus without fear.

In the scriptures we are told that the Holy Spirit has many attributes. Here are some or them; like a dove, Luke 3 v 22; quencher of thirst, Isaiah 55 ; the comforter, John 14 v 26; teacher of truth, John 16 v 13, giver of power, Acts 1 v 8; giver of joy, Romans 14 v 17. giver of love, Romans 5 v 5; giver of eternal life, John 4 v 14; oil, Mark 6v 13; prayer, Jude 1 v 20.

Do you need love, joy, heaven, truth or comfort? Are you thirsty? Are these not attributes all our hearts desire? I have good news for you. The Holy Spirit wants to give these without measure. Receive him.

The five wise virgins with their lamps and oil are symbolic of people who receive the Jesus (lamp) and keep the Holy Spirit (oil) flowing in their lives. They are prepared for any good work and will not be ashamed when Jesus returns. The foolish virgins are symbolic of those of us who receive Jesus but don’t keep the oil of the Holy Spirit flowing in their lives. They will be unprepared for Jesus return.

Many people start off excited about the Holy Spirit but do not continue praying in the Spirit. Persecutions or lack of perseverance discourage one. So we give up. Let today be a new day for you. It is the beginning of Lent. A new beginning to turn again to God.  A flickering flame he will not put out. Instead God can cause that flame to be stirred up into a fire! Be filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit.

i can testify to the Holy Spirit being my Comforter.  Many times when I’ve been distressed I’ve been comforted.  The Holy Spirit has led me into truth and led me in life’s paths that are good for me.  He has given me joy instead of despair.  His power strengthened to rear fourteen children and be healed of cancer.  When I have no love left, he fills me with love again.  He will keep me and give me eternal life in heaven.  Praise God.

The Heron

Cyclists sprint past,
Cars hurry to the ferry,
Lovers chat,
Strong youths hike along the shore road
Unaware of the heron

Standing nearby

Long legs stiff

Beside the still water

Dignified with

Long, whispy feathers

Dangling from his chest.

Slender neck outstretched

Head tilted
Eyes staring, glaring.
Yellow beak darts and stabs.
A small fish is swallowed.

Rewarded.

Head wound into his shoulders

Rest for a while

Satisfied, savouring success
He waits into the night, fishing.
He knows that tomorrow
There will be choppy waters.
He shrieks, spreads his feathers,
Like a skirt hanging from his wings,
And rises to the hills beyond,
To wait, high in a tree,
Till the storm passes.

Faith for Provision

It was 1998. Brendan wanted to take me to India, my first trip with him to the nations. He had been to India many times and wanted to introduce me to his friends there. Brendan wanted to bless me for looking after our children and home, while he travelled. He was wondering if it was the right time to go.

We had just moved house from one end of Northern Ireland to the other with nine children. We were still settling into our new home and getting a feel of our surroundings. It would mean getting visas and booking flights, and believing God for the provision.

One evening our family were relaxing watching a nature programm on television. It was about wildlife in India. The Brahmaputra is a river that winds across north India. The lush grass along it’s banks supports some of the biggest animals in the world. Wild buffalo, elephant, rhino, tiger, deer and many other species co exist. The documentary showed a large family of otters chewing on fish. They lay on the bank of the river in the sun contented with bellies full. There is plenty of food and space for all the species. They are not jostling each other for space. There is an abundance of water and food.

He covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures. He gives food to the wild animals and feeds the young ravens when they cry. (‭Psalms‬ ‭147‬:‭3-5, 8-9‬ NLT)

At this time we were in transition. We had just moved from a town house with its restrictions for a large family to a broad place, a bungalow with large garden on the edge of town. We had taken a leap of faith. The documentary was an encouragement to me that as God provides for the wild beasts in Northern India will he not provide for me and my big family. We had more space in our new home, for our growing boys. There was plenty of room for them all.

I reassured my husband to go ahead and book the flights for India. I had faith that God would supply all our need according to his riches in Glory. His bank is not broke. Heaven is not running out of gold. The streets are paved with gold. He is looking after all peoples and nations. Is it difficult for him to look after our family? He provides even for the animals, will he not also provide for us.

The documentary encouraged our faith. Brendan needed further reassurance. He asked a friend to pray. He responded and said God gave him the word, Thomas. This was a word of knowledge, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Brendan researched about Thomas. He was one of the disciples of Jesus and it is thought he went to India.

The Holy Spirit confirmed I should go to India. Brendan went ahead and planned the trip to India. Friends looked after our children while we were away. God looked after all who were away and all at home.

God is Merciful Again and Again.

Prayer from the book of Nehemiah

“On October 31 the people assembled again, and this time they fasted and dressed in sackcloth and sprinkled dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent confessed their own sins and the sins of their ancestors. They remained standing in place for three hours while the Book of the Law of the Lord their God was read aloud to them. Then for three more hours they confessed their sins and worshiped the Lord their God.”
‭‭“Then the leaders of the Levites called out to the people:
“Stand up and praise the Lord your God, for he lives from everlasting to everlasting!”
Then they prayed:
“May your glorious name be praised!
May it be exalted above all blessing and praise!
You alone are the Lord.
You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars.
You made the earth and the seas and everything in them.
You preserve them all, and the angels of heaven worship you.
You are the Lord God, who chose Abram and brought him from Ur of the Chaldeans and renamed him Abraham. When he had proved himself faithful, you made a covenant with him to give him and his descendants the land of the Canaan.
And you have done what you promised, for you are always true to your word.
You saw the misery of our ancestors in Egypt, and you heard their cries from beside the Red Sea.
You displayed miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, his officials, and all his people, for you knew how arrogantly they were treating our ancestors.
You have a glorious reputation that has never been forgotten.
You divided the sea for your people so they could walk through on dry land! And then you hurled their enemies into the depths of the sea.
They sank like stones beneath the mighty waters.
You led our ancestors by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night so that they could find their way.
“You gave them bread from heaven when they were hungry and water from the rock when they were thirsty.
You commanded them to go and take possession of the land you had sworn to give them. “But our ancestors were proud and stubborn, and they paid no attention to your commands. They refused to obey and did not remember the miracles you had done for them.
Instead, they became stubborn and appointed a leader to take them back to their slavery in Egypt.
But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love.
You did not abandon them, even when they made an idol shaped like a calf and said, ‘This is your god who brought you out of Egypt!’
They committed terrible blasphemies. “But in your great mercy you did not abandon them to die in the wilderness.
The pillar of cloud still led them forward by day, and the pillar of fire showed them the way through the night.
You sent your good Spirit to instruct them, and you did not stop giving them manna from heaven or water for their thirst.
For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell!
“They went in and took possession of the land. You subdued whole nations before them.
Even the Canaanites, who inhabited the land, were powerless!
Your people could deal with these nations and their kings as they pleased.
Our ancestors captured fortified cities and fertile land.
They took over houses full of good things, with cisterns already dug and vineyards and olive groves and fruit trees in abundance.
So they ate until they were full and grew fat and enjoyed themselves in all your blessings.
But despite all this, they were disobedient and rebelled against you.
They turned their backs on your Law, they killed your prophets who warned them to return to you, and they committed terrible blasphemies.
So you handed them over to their enemies, who made them suffer.
But in their time of trouble they cried to you, and you heard them from heaven. In your great mercy, you sent them liberators who rescued them from their enemies.
But as soon as they were at peace, your people again committed evil in your sight, and once more you let their enemies conquer them.
Yet whenever your people turned and cried to you again for help, you listened once more from heaven. In your wonderful mercy, you rescued them many times!
In your love, you were patient with them for many years.
You sent your Spirit, who warned them through the prophets.
But still they wouldn’t listen! So once again you allowed the peoples of the land to conquer them.
But in your great mercy, you did not destroy them completely or abandon them forever.
What a gracious and merciful God you are!
Every time you punished us you were being just. We have sinned greatly, and you gave us only what we deserved. Our kings, leaders, priests, and ancestors did not obey your Law or listen to the warnings in your commands and laws.”
‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭9: 1-3, 5-12, 15-21, 24-28, 30-31, 33-34‬ ‭NLT‬‬

This is a prayer the people of Israel prayed after some of them returned to Jerusalem. Their forefathers had been exiled to Babylon, seventy years before. The the temple in Jerusalem was torn down by their captors. The people gathered and acknowledged God and how he had been merciful to their forefathers even though they had sinned and went after other idols. They not only confessed their sins but acknowledged the sins of their forefathers. They humbled themselves with fasting.

From studies it is shown that brain cells grow when one fasts. Fasting helps to change and heal our minds. Old cells in our brain that remember thoughts that are not Godly can be washed away and new cells with new thoughts can come into the new cells. It has been shown by Dr Leaf that when one repents or changes his mind his brain cells change. God causes us to change our mind.

So fasting and confessing our sins of our generation past breaks curses from our forebears. To get free from generational curses one has to admit he could be under a curse. Then he can ask God to forgive and heal. The power of the curse down the generations has to be broken by someone whom God has anointed to pray in such a way.

This is what it means in Isaiah 61.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭61:1-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Do you want restoration? Are you praying for revival? Are you praying for healing? Are you praying for renewal of your youth. Then you need to confess your sins and the sins of your forefathers.

Then God will hear from heaven and heal you.

I Began to Fear Growing Old.

I was reading a list of recommendations given by Pat Devilly a popular fitness trainer from Galway, on his post.  A line on the list reads,

“Spend time with people over seventy and under the age of six.”

Having reared fourteen children, I have spent much time with children.  I have to admit I have not spent much time with older people over the years.

After reading this Blog by Pat Devilly, I decided to pay a visit to an elderly friend.  Ten years ago she had two knee replacements.  She was very brave and recovered well.  Every night her sleep is disturbed by night sweats.  She has to change her night dress through the night.  I thought “Poor lady, she has to endure this hardship.”  I was humbled to hear about her difficulties but she continues enduring without complaint.
I began to fear growing old and with it failing health.

I was reading on Facebook recipes for being forever young.  Drink plenty of water, eat vegetables, don’t take sugar or processed foods, go for walks, garden, lose weight.  The list goes on and on.  I realized I would become exhausted trying to be forever young and eating lettuce to avoid pains and aches that many older people suffer.

I began to drink more water and my whole system reacted to the excess fluid.  I wasn’t well for days!  I tried to diet but failed miserably.  I try to go for a walk but other demands come first.  The weeds are flourishing in my garden!  The dreams of cooking wonderful dishes with the herbs from my garden has not materialized.

I decided to stop reading such articles on Facebook, I stopped drinking excess water, I eat when I’m hungry and don’t starve myself.  I will go for a walk when I desire, not because I should.  I will go back to gardening when I have the strength.  I will continue to wear the dress size I need to and not try to fit into a smaller size.  My body and mind were getting stressed with the fear.

I reminded myself of the scripture fromPsalm 91
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (‭Psalm‬ ‭91‬:‭14-16‬ NIV)

God promises me a long life.  If I have any sickness, pain or any other trouble in the future God promises to deliver me from each one.  As for me I will enjoy my life each day and not live in fear.  God has delivered me from death by healing me from cancer.  He will continue to help me.

This Is My Son. Listen to Him.

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations.  Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. (‭Luke‬ ‭21‬:‭25-26‬ KJV)

Jesus spoke these words to his disciples when he was telling them about the end of the world.  He told them to look for the signs.

There were signs and wonders in the sky as we drove out last evening.  We looked up.  In the space of an hour, we saw dark, rain laden clouds, a double rainbow, a full moon and the sun.  We saw dark, imagegrey and purple clouds to our left, then a small rainbow on the horizon, a bright mushroom like cloud, a full moon in front of us and the sun behind us, all in the sky at once.

I was encouraged when a minister was speaking yesterday.  He quoted from the scripture which says,

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (‭Matthew‬ ‭17‬:‭5‬ NIV)

God spoke out of the cloud, his love and approval of his son Jesus.   He tells us to listen to Jesus.

Today God in heaven, the creator of the clouds, sun and moon is saying “Listen to my son, Jesus.” Read what is recorded about Jesus when he was on the earth in the scriptures.  He is the truth, the way and the life.  Those who are thirsty, come to Jesus, the fountain of life.  He promises to give you water that you will never thirst again, and eternal life. I Praise God that I am alive to see his wonders in the sky last evening.

Tableau Thursday. The Season of Singing of Birds has Come

“The season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. (‭Song of Solomon‬ ‭2‬:‭12‬ NIV)

It is the 29 th April today in Co Down, Ireland.  I was pleasantly surprised to see a swallow swoop towards my window this morning.  Hooray the swallows have arrived. It is a new season. There is a different song outside.  Robins thrill, doves coo, chaffinches chirrup as they call to their mates in the warm mornings.  It will be safe to start building nests to prepare for having their young.

image
The migrant birds are on the move.  The Brent Geese that had visited with us since September left the shore below while I was away in Scotland.  When they arrive in September they look like ducks.  They have shed weight while rearing their young in the Tundra in Northern Canada and have used up energy flying thousands of miles to our shores.  The Brent Geese come to the shores of Strangford Lough to feed on Eel grass. By April they have grown and fattened up.  They look like geese.  When the new season comes they fly away.  I miss  them.  Some geese came to feed and drink each morning below at a spring of water that joins the sea water lough.  I would hear their throaty calls from my room.

Jesus tells us to take the birds as our example and not to worry but seek first his kingdom.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body.  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭25-27‬ NIV)

I was shaken from my melancholy when I noticed the swallow this morning.  I went to share with my husband , “The swallows have arrived”.  It was an unexpected visitor.  He has flown here thousands of miles from South Africa.  He has made it as his family before him did.  What a feat.  Such a small bird can fly such a long way.

He had no luggage with him.  No belongings.  No passport. He has no purse.  He is free to fly over borders and nations.  He is no threat to anyone.  God had prepared a place for him in the barn behind our house. He will eat the food and drink the water here. He is welcome. He has brought joy to me. The singing has come to our land.

I watched a nature program about the flights of migrant birds.  On the swallows’ journey up North they stop off at different points to feed and rest for the next stage.  One stopover is by a lake.  The swallows arrive there just when millions of flies hatch out.  The air is dark with the flies.  The swallows swoop in and out of the cloud of flies and have a feast.  This is another example of God providing for the birds of the air.  I rejoice to see God’s timing and provision for the birds of the air.  Our Creator and Father looks after all his Creation.  I marvel in his Glory. I see his Glory in Creation.

The swallows song will join with the resident birds in the dawn chorus.  They will build their nests and rear their young in the barns behind where we live.

Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. (‭Psalm‬ ‭84‬:‭3‬ NIV)

I will hear a different sound in the morning.  Instead of the Brent Geese’s call, there will be the chirping of the swallows on the wire.