The Stairway to Heaven.

Two weeks ago I read this scripture.
“Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth. ””
‭‭John‬ ‭1:51‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I had never noticed this reading before. I remember another story from the Old Testament where Jacob had a dream.

 

Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep. As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac.” But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!””‭‭Genesis‬ ‭28:11-13, 17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

On holiday in Greece recently I visited a Craft shop. The Artists make their pieces from reclaimed items they find on the beach. I too work with stuff from the shore where I live in Northern Ireland. Small sticks, driftwood, pottery, Seaglass and bits of rope are some of things I find. The man of the shop made ships and boats. On each one was a ladder that went from the deck of the ship up the mast. Ladders also figured on the lady’s work. Here is an image of a ladder reaching up from the earth to the clouds above. It is from a piece of art I bought form a craft shop in Greece.

I was excited to see the image of the ladder. I was thinking back to the scripture about Jesus being a stairway or a ladder. I told the couple what the image of the ladder can mean. They were very happy to hear what I had to say.

The theme of the ladder came to me again today. I was reading Merlin Carothers’s book Proson to Praise. In it Merlin recalls a vision he had.

“I saw a bright summer day. Up above was a solid heavy black cloud. A ladder extended from the ground into the dark cloud. At the base of the ladder were lots of people who wanted to get a chance to climb the ladder. They had heard that beyond the cloud was something beautiful. Some people tried to climb. As soon as they got to the dark cloud they came sliding down again. Merlin climbed the ladder. He kept going through the dark cloud even though it was difficult. He came into intense brightness.”

The Lord explained to Merlin that the ladder represents praising God. Some people start out praising God but give up when times get difficult. They lose faith and go sliding back. When one continues to praise God he comes to a place where he can walk on difficulties no matter how dark they seem as long as he keeps his eyes off the problem and looks to the Lord.

I’m encouraged today after reading about Praise. I will believe that God can work all things together for good as we praise him and thank him no matter how difficult the situation gets. He is in control. Keep clinging to the ladder of praise and keep going up. Keep clinging onto Jesus who is the stairway to heaven. He takes us from the earth to heaven, just as Jacob saw in his dream.

 

 

Honouring your Parents.

This last year I have been at too many funerals. It keeps one vulnerable to the reality that my time is short on this planet.

Praise God he extended my life by healing me from fourth stage cancer. It will be nine years this year since I was healed. I have experienced more and more God’s care and restoration in my life.

Psalm 71 says Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, my God.

Psalm 90 says, Our days come to seventy years or eighty, if our strength endures. Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

I hope in God’s promises to me. He has been faithful to heal me.

Seeing friends who are ill and vulnerable makes me realise the importance of family. My husband and family have been there for me when I had cancer and more recently when I was nursing a broken arm.

Receiving a phone call to show one cared lifted my spirits. I felt even better when one came to visit or stay a while to help me. Bringing cooked food showed me love.

Many parents are left lonely and without help in their old age because loved ones leave home to work in foreign countries. Work there demands their time and they don’t have time to think of parents back home growing old.

Sickness can come to an aged person because of loneliness. With no one to visit or encourage one, it is harder to recover. Yes the health services help to a certain degree. Friends, if one has any, can help for a season.

Having the support of family keeps one alive. Psalm 127 says “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.” When I had cancer my children rallied around me, cared for me and prayed for me. They were patient with me and brought my healing.

I know a friend who in her forties returned home to care for her elderly parents which took a period of twelve years. She is now married. Another friend, even though she had family of her own cared for her parents for ten years. Another lady, a widow, lived till her eightieth year, though she had ill health all her life, because her two sons went to see her every day.

Old people live long lives in Japan and Sardinia, not because they have money. In Japan older people have communities where they have activities and social interaction. Life is extended in Sardinia because the elderly parents are cared for by their children. They are surrounded by their grandchildren and help in their rearing. It has been studied that helping with grandchildren extends one’s life.

In China the law requires the children to look after their parents. They will be punished if they don’t. It is good to hear that China’s law’s are in line with what the Word of God says. “Honour your mother and father and it will go well with you and you will live along life.” It’s the only commandment with a promise.

In the West, so called “civilised world” sadly this commandment has been neglected. Young people have opportunities of education, travel and work. They end up being busy and years pass by. They forget their parents who reared them and gave them a start in life.

I visited a home recently where a lonely elderly couple lived. The garden was unattended. The paint work was not renewed for years. Inside the dust has gathered. Newspapers are piling up. They are neglected. The children have gone to foreign lands to work. Money does not buy love as the Beatle song goes. Another song has words that say “Bring your love to me, don’t send it.”

I was grieved last year to visit a dying friend. She was in a luxurious nursing home, where no expense was spared. Her children paid the bill, but they were in far away countries. No one to hold her in her last days on earth.

I could give more examples. If this message touches your heart, please think of your own parents or look out for elderly people you know.

In “Healing”

An October Morning.

Oh the stillness of Monday morning.
The house is quiet.
No popping of the toaster, or the kettle boiling for tea and coffee.
The high chair is empty till the next grandchild comes to visit.
No airport pickups today.
Visitors from far away places in England, Canada and India have left.
The light, warmth and stillness invites us outside.
The calm after the storm.
Our friend the robin welcomes us.
He flutters and swirls around me, excited.
Others birds in the forest are singing their hearts out.
Two blue tits come down inquisitively looking for food.
A blackbird calls.
A solitary Raven chases away any competitors for the food scattered on the lawn.
The sunshine glistens on the water, thousands of lights dancing.
Tinkle, tinkle sounds come up from the last yacht below in the bay.
Where is the sun bed?
It hasn’t been packed way yet.
I stretch out and look up.
A few dry leaves drift past.
There is the blue sky beyond the bare branches.
Somewhere up there in an aeroplane is my son and his family.
I will savour the sunshine and beauty.
It’s a new day, I will not be sad.

The Spreading Oak Tree

Brendan and I were taking a walk in the forest of Budmerice Castle this morning. The castle grounds are open for the use of the people of the village for cycling or walks. Festivals are held in the grounds at different times of the year. Young and old gather to meet and view the stalls of food and crafts.

All was quiet this morning except for the tapping of a woodpecker. It is harvest time. Plum, Chestnut, Walnut, Apple, Oak trees are casting their fruit. It was drizzling with rain softening the ground after the dryness of summer. Every time we come to Slovakia the weather turns out to be suitable for us, just like back in Ireland, not too hot or cold with a bit of rain.

We came to a clearing in the forest. In the centre of the meadow was an oak tree which spread its branches on every side. It is a tall, healthy, strong and sturdy tree. It is the representation of something that God wants each one  of us to become.  Such a tree provides shade from the heat of summer for people, animals or birds. The birds build their nests in the branches to rear their young. I can imagine young children climbing up on it spreading boughs, or boys competing to get to the top branches. My grandchildren call this “Our climbing tree.” They spend many a summer’s afternoon there until they get tired.

Psalm 1 talks about a man who is like a tree. “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper” (Psalms 1:3).

The tree I saw today is healthy because it has been planted in a good area to receive the proper nourishment it needs to withstand the adverse conditions it may encounter during its life.  Such a tree is hundreds of years old.  It is in a broad meadow where it’s leaves get direct sunlight to nourish its leaves. It receives heavy falls of snow in the winter. The branches are able to withstand the weight of snow. This snow melts in the spring and waters the roots spread underground.  The roots go deep into the ground and extend as wide underground as the branches do overhead.

For a man to flourish like a tree he needs to let the water of life nourish his soul. This water is the Holy Spirit and the word of God is nourishment. We must remain close to God and Jesus Christ, the source of this nourishment in order to maintain a constant flow of the Holy Spirit day and night. “He who believes in Me as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). And in 2 Corinthians 4:16 it says, “Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”

Overcome

 

I had to overcome a few difficulties today.

I went to a Craft Fair in Lisburn today. It was raining heavily when I arrived. I hadn’t packed an umbrella or warm clothes. I parked in a loading area for a few minutes. If the traffic warden came along I would get a fine. I had to take the risk of getting a fine. I would only be there a few minutes. I unloaded two cases filled with my mosaics. I put them on a small trolley to take them to the event. I walked across the street. The trolley toppled the two cases in front of waiting traffic. The rain continued to fall. I gathered up my belongings and got out of the way of the cars. My hair got wetter and wetter. I will look like a drowned rat by the time I get to my stall.

I didn’t complain. I remembered people in Mexico, the Caribbean and Florida today who have to deal with more difficult situations than a shower of rain.

I take part in Craft Fairs to sell my mosaics of sea glass and my book about being healed of malignant cancer. I take the opportunity to tell people about being healed and how God is restoring me. Doing the mosaics is part of my restoration.

I was amazed at the end of the day. I met so many people who had stories about overcoming cancer.  I did not hear a negative story today.  Two older ladies had cancer many years ago. They are doing well. One lady had cancer in the womb many years ago. She had a hysterectomy and the cancer didn’t come back.

Patricia had Ovarian Cancer last year with secondaries. She has just been through operations and treatments. She looked well today. I prayed that she will be totally healed in Jesus name.

Another lady’s niece had cancer twenty years ago. She was just married when diagnosed. Not only did she recover but she went on to have three children. Another girl I heard of had cancer in 1986 when treatments were not as advanced as we have today. She recovered , went on to be a nurse, get married and have children.

I prayed for a young woman today who is going through breast cancer at the moment. She was open to prayer. I reassured her Jesus will heal her.

One lady had just visited her cousin in hospital. Many people were praying for him. All the people who shared with me opened up and shared their stories as I shared mine. They all had family and friends pray for them. They believed in healing. How many people who walk by in the street have stories to share?

These are all testimonies of how these people have overcome difficult situations of being faced with cancer and death.

In Revelation we are told that “They overcome by the Blood of Jesus and they love not their life unto death.” Women today were not afraid to share.

Despite a bad start to the day, I had overcome rain and mishaps to get to the Craft Fair.  https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/overcome/

 

 

 

A Walk in the Wicklow Hills.

Last weekend, Brendan and I were visiting my daughter, husband and family in Wicklow. They were glad to see us. She had a welcome meal ready for us after a long journey. The children were reminiscing with their grandad and remembering the video he made showing them dive off the pier. They are already looking forward to next year’s summer camp at Granddad’s house.

Shann was sorting out school clothes and putting away items the children had grown out of. The cuffs of the girls’ school jumpers were a bit frayed. A few stitches will repair them. Thread and needle were searched out and granny used her skills to make all things new.

The washing machine churned out sheets, socks, jumpers and tights. Clothes were brought in from the washing line and left in a pile on the kitchen table to be sorted later. More clothes were hung out to dry. I watched my daughter doing her washing from the comfort of the cosy chair Shann had purchased for me. I remembered back to when my children were young. The end of holidays was a frenzied time getting everyone one ready for school again.

Shann coaxed Brendan and I to go for a walk. They live in a beautiful area in the hills of Wicklow. I had to leave my cosy chair. I enjoyed the stunning views and the banter with the children. Two of the children brought their bicycles with them. They are like me, not too keen on walking.

We rested at the end of the lane. Wild fushia and heather were in bloom. Bees were buzzing collecting pollen. Trees that were planted by the forestry a few years back are now growing tall, replacing the trees that had been harvested. A new generation of trees.

Our grandchildren are now growing tall. I’m not quite ready to be chopped down. I asked my Maggie, my granddaughter who had her bicycle if I could borrow it to save my legs on the journey back to the house. She agreed. I sailed down the brae but gave it back when I came to a steep incline.

I joined the others to walk the last part of the lane. After a while we noticed Maggie had gone on ahead and she hadn’t waited for us. There was an inviting part of the lane up ahead. It was just perfect for me to sale down. But Maggie and her bicycle were nowhere to be found.
She must have been frightened that granny may have been too heavy for her precious bicycle.

When I returned home North I resolved to do some exercise to get these dry bones working again. I got out my own bicycle. Despite the pain and aches I will overcome and get fit. As I said I’m not ready to be chopped down or sit in the corner doing needle work. I have a lot of living to do yet. I am staying alive to proclaim the works of the Lord and to see more of my children’s children.

“Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It’s Harvest Time

It is August, the month of harvest in Ireland.  The fields of barley and wheat around our home are ripe. It has been a sunny, dry summer and the farmers can expect a bumper crop. I saw a tractor pulling a trailer full to overflowing with grain. Did the farmer do anything extra this year more than other years to get a bigger harvest? No he is faithful to prepare the fields in the springtime and sow the seeds of wheat. He waits. He has faith.  He expects to get a harvest a few months later.

No amount of worrying will help the seed to grow. No matter what the weather is like if he believes he will get the harvest in. It is because of God’s mercy and goodness we have had good weather this summer in Ireland for everyone to enjoy and especially for the growth of crops and fruit. The earth has brought forth bountifully. When we visited with friends over the summer we enjoyed the strawberries from their garden.

Last year at this time the ground in some parts of Ireland was too wet for heavy machinery to gather in the harvest. In September a dry spell of weather allowed the farmers to clear the ground. It was later than usual but the harvest time did come.
God word promises
““As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭8:22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

A prophetic word was given by an American prophet back in May. He said,
“For the next season there will be an open heaven over you. There will be a release of God’s revelation and power. You can expect to receive payment for the attacks of the enemy. God is breaking clouds of darkness and bringing people out of the wilderness and God’s light is going to shine.”

Yes the light has been shining naturally all summer. God is showing us his favor. I am like the farmer expecting a harvest from what I have sown naturally and spiritually. I am expecting payment for what the devil has stolen. God is going to move sovereignly on my behalf. I didn’t earn his mercy. I believe in his promises and his prophetic words to me. He is going to keep his promises to me.  I have faith because God has said in his word.

There was a rainbow arch right across the sky in front of my home on Saturday. It is a sign of God’s covenant with me and with all life on the earth. He will never again flood the earth. It is a sign to me that God is there and he sees and encourages me to keep believing him. He told Noah and his family when they came out of the Ark,

“As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”
“And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.”

God has blessed Brendan and I with increase of children. I believe he will continue to increase our family in number and multiply on the earth.  We will get our harvest now.  It is harvest time.