Why do Thorns, Thistles and Weeds take over Good Soil?

When I moved to our last house we had a garden at the front of the house.  It was south facing.  When spring came we sat outside in the sunshine.  It was private.  I invested in sun loungers and my children would compete who could get sitting on them when I was not around.

I sat outside relaxing.  I looked around my garden.  I planned what I would do to improve it.

I grew up on a farm.  I remember helping my father gather potatoes.  I was not afraid to get my hands dirty.  I helped mum with her work collecting eggs.   Dad kept a milking herd of cows.  It was an early start each morning for my father, every day of the year.  My mother and father worked to rear their family of ten children.

I would watch as my father trimmed the hedgerows or mended gaps to keep animals from getting out of the field.

I inspected the holly hedge at the front of the garden and the two walls at either side. The hedge needed trimmed and encouraged to grow higher.  The walls had become overgrown with ivy.  The previous owner had cut the grass but the thorns and weeds were taking over on both sides.

I decided to reclaim some land!  I was able to use my experience from growing up on the farm.  I got on my working boots and clothes.  I began to tackle the thorns with sharp hooks.  My children watched and joined in to help.

In early spring the thorns and weeds are the first plants to emerge.  The thorns send out their shoots sideways.  Very soon they can cover a piece of ground.   I was determined to deal with them.  I was going to reclaim two stripes of ground at the side of my garden.

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My boys helped me.  In no time we discovered rich composted soil under the surface of matted briars.  We trimmed the ivy that had hidden the stone walls.  I burned up all the thorns and ivy.

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One does not have to plant weeds or thistles.  They just appear.  It is true what the God said to Adam.  Thorns and thistles will grow.
To Adam he said,  “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food. (Genesis 3:17-19 NIV)

It is a constant battle for the farmer to get rid of weeds and allow the wheat to grow to produce food.

As I cleared the weeds and thorns that was covering the good soil, I thought about how bad things come into people’s lives to stop the good in their lives coming forth.  I thought how Jesus came and moved among people and delivered them from the things that prevented them living normal lives.  Sickness, infirmity, epilepsy, leprosy and depression were cured by Jesus.  These things are like weeds and thorns in peoples lives.

Jesus told his disciples to do what he did.  He  gave them authority to use his Name.  After Jesus died and shed his blood on the cross he defeated the power of the devil.  By calling on the name of Jesus and claiming the power of His blood all “weeds and thorns” in our lives can be removed.  Then we can live fruitful lives.

 

Because The Night: Daily Prompt

Because the night comes we unwind after the day’s activities.

I love the quiet of the night.  

Everyone is asleep.  

No noise.  

No TV programmes to distract.  

No one needing my attention.  

No cooking to be done.

It is the end of the day and I can reflect on the day that is past or prepare for the day ahead.

I often awake while it is dark to read.

I feel rested.

I get inspiration and it is the time I write.

Jeremiah 36 v 2 says take a book and write down on it all I tell you.

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/because-the-night/

The Swallow has Arrived to Rear her Young.

 

The swallow has arrived from South Africa.

Yesterday I noticed a pair of swallows swirling overhead.  They are harbingers of spring in the Northern countries of the world. They have arrived to rear their young.

Swallows spend most of their days flying through the air catching insects.  Wherever there are insects you will find swallows.  They are to be found all over the world except near the Artic and Antarctica.

They build their nests near where humans live.  Their nests are found in barns of farmers.  They return each year to the same nesting place.  I remember when I lived at home on my father’s farm each year swallows would arrive.  They flitted in and out of their nests bringing food for their young.

I have been encouraged from the scriptures when I have prayed in the past about a house for my family.

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)

It is amazing that this small bird travels from Africa, thousands of miles, to nest and rear offspring.  I watched a nature programme about the swallows.  They arrive at certain places on their journey north where swarms of insects have just hatched.  A feast is prepared for the migrating birds.  It was wonderful to watch.  God even cares for the birds of the air.

Scriptures encourage us to not worry.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

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)

So this small bird flying overhead has reminded me of Gods care and provision of a home for me.

 

Leaping with Joy like Calves let Out to Pasture

 

In Northern Ireland from spring to autumn we have long days of sunlight.  The sun does not get too hot here but the brighter days make one want to make up for the dark days of winter.

“Behold the winter is past the time for singing of birds has come.”  Song of Solomon.

I awake early with the sunrise.  Overhead I see at least twenty trails of aeroplanes returning to Europe from North America.  Life is going on all around.

As it is getting warmer, birds and animals are revived as well.  The local farmer moved his cows with young to greener pastures from their winter feeding area.  They were released from the stall.  They will give birth there.
Lambs are born and birds are building their nests for their young.  The cycle of new birth turns again.

I have been released as well into green pastures.  I can truly say with Psalm 23  “The Lord is my shepherd.  There is nothing I shall want.   Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose.  He guides me beside still waters to restore my soul.”

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I am receiving new strength with the joy of having my new home.  I want to do so many things.  Multitasking!  I get ideas as I sit.  I make a note of groceries to be got for this Easter weekend.

I send greetings for Easter via email and text.  I get an idea for a blog.  I want to plant some flowers that will bloom in the window boxes.  I want to pray.  I want to worship God.  It is not a chore because thanksgiving and praise rise because God has been so good to me.  I want to live and shout and sing and dance!

As the sun rises in the East may the Sun of righteousness rise with healing in his wings for you this  Spring and Easter season.

“But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings.  And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. (Malachi 4:2 NLT)

 

On Top of the Hill, an Irish Boreen. Weekly Photo Challenge

Here are the views from the top of the hill above where I live in Ireland.

The photos were taken from the same spot.

This photo is taken to my left.

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The small road is called a Boreen.  

Not like the many laned motorways in other countries.

The Irish Sea and the Mourne Mountains are in the distance.  Slieve Donard is the highest in the middle.

“Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.”

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Why is Good Friday called Good.

 

Today is Friday of Holy Week when we remember the last days of Jesus on the earth.  It is called Good Friday.

Is it not a bad day when someone dies?

Jesus died a horrible death.  He was crucified.  His back was cut open from the a whip.  His face was covered in blood from a crown of thorns that pierced his head.  Nails were hammered into his hands and feet.  He was cursed, because anyone who hung on a tree was cursed.  He was covered in blood.  His side was opened up with a sword.  He was naked.  He was hungry.  He was thirsty.  He was separated from God.

Men mocked him.  He suffered.  He was in pain.  He did no wrong.  He did not sin.  He helped people while he lived.  He was full of love.  He forgave those who killed him.  He obeyed his Father.  He did not call on angels for help.  He was the perfect sacrifice.

His close friends deserted him.  He was spat upon.  He was punished.  He was rejected and betrayed.  He was despised.  He had done no violence.  He did not open his mouth.  He did not want his own will.  He gave up his Spirit.

Adam disobeyed God and was put out of the garden and separated from God.  Someone had to bring mankind back into God’s presence.  God told Moses to sacrifice bulls as offerings.  Aaron had to sprinkle the blood over the people to bring them close to God.

Jesus became a sacrifice to God to bring mankind into God’s presence again.  He died to self.  His blood was shed for us though he had not sinned.  Through his sacrifice we can be forgiven our wrongdoings, curses, and healed of sicknesses.  He understands our pain.  He took our pain so we can be healed.  As we believe and accept his sacrifice and forgiveness we can be free.  We are reconciled to God and can be with him on earth and in heaven.

We do not have to wait to die before we experience heaven.  Jesus taught us to pray “Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”

This is Good News.

That is why the day we remember Jesus’ death is called Good.

Holy Week and the Signs in the Moon

 

We remember the last few days of Jesus life on earth this week Holy Week.  He was talking to his disciples about the future.  They were very nervous because he was telling them he was going to die.  They asked him about what was going to happen in the future.

He mentioned about his return and said “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.  Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.” (Luke 21:25, 31 NIV)   There will be earthquakes. V 11

When Jesus died on the cross there were signs and wonders in nature.  There was an earthquake and there was darkness for three hours.
“It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. (Luke 23:44, 45 NIV)
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split (Matthew 27:51 NIV)

Surely this would have shaken the people and caused them to consider what had just happened to Jesus.  They must have been perplexed.

What is happening in our times?  This very week the moon changed colour.  In some places it appeared red.  It could be seen all over the world!  Surely this will cause all of the peoples of the earth to think?

The prophet Joel foretold many years ago,
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.”  (Joel 2:28-31 KJV)

Jesus promised his disciples before he died that the Father would send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, who would lead them into all truth.  God wants to pour his Spirit out again.  People will have dreams.  People will have visions.

It is time to seek The Lord.

There is no need to be afraid.  God promises in Malachi,
“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. (Malachi 4:2 KJV)

Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:17, 36 NIV)

The Moon will Shine as Bright as the Sun

 

Last night, the fifteenth of April, at seven thirty my daughter called me into the kitchen.  Outside low in the sky was a full moon.  It had a glow around it like the colour of the sun.  It was the Lunar Eclipse.  This glow lasted as the moon rose higher in the sky.  My neighbour said, “It is like the sun rising!”

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The area we now live in called Bright.  It is well named.  The sun and moon rise in the east behind our house.  The sun shines all day and sets in the west at the front of the house.  If there are no clouds in the sky we have sunshine and warmth all day.  There are no trees, houses or mountains to cast a shadow.   I awoke through the night.  The moon was shining.  It was not dark outside.

I am reminded of the passage from the bible,

The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted. (Isaiah 30:26 NIV). 

Yesterday the sun shone all day.  It was brighter than normal.  I believe these signs are showing me that God is healing and restoring me and our family.  It indeed is the Year of The Lord’s Favour when we are being healed of wounds we don’t even know we have.  

This promise is not only for me but it is for you.  It is the Year of The Lord’s favour for you.  Call upon The Lord and he will hear.  He is near to the broken hearted and those who are downtrodden.  

We remember Jesus death on the Cross this week.  He died and shed his blood to set us free from sin, sickness, curses, oppression of the devil and restore mankind to wholeness.  Believe and receive Jesus and he will make you whole.  

I am healed of cancer.  I made a choice to believe that Jesus could heal me and I received it even against what the doctors said.  I was in a place of hopelessness, brokenness and despair when I had cancer.  He is now healing all my family from all these things and is restoring them.  We do not deserve this, but God wants us to receive his mercy, goodness and blessing so I can tell you about Him.

Why does my Washing Machine make Socks go Missing?

Do your socks ever go missing in the wash?
I think this is a problem every household faces whether there are two or twenty living there.

I had a laundry basket I left in the washroom.  There the children put their dirty clothes. When there was few of us I enjoyed doing my laundry.  I learned to separate whites, towels, jeans, and different clothes types.  I was able to recover lost socks and pair them off.

Thank God for washing machines.  Years ago woman had to spend all of Monday scrubbing clothes clean with soap.  No washing machines or tumble driers then.

One day I was visiting an older lady.  I noticed her washing dazzling on the washing line outside.  It was indeed like the TV advert recommending a certain detergent.  I wanted to know what detergent she used.  In Ireland we still hang our washing outside, weather permitting.  The fresh air and sunshine freshen the clothes.  I love the smell of clothes brought in from the line.  I even ironed my husbands shirts then.

As the family grew my older children did the washing.  If I did not oversee what they were doing, towels would come out blue after being washed with jeans.  A delicate dress would end up wrinkled beyond repair.  My husband’s Tee shirts would shrink at a too high a temperature.  The children’s clothes I bought for them were made of material that did not need ironing.  The iron got little use.

I gave up on the sock problem.  I bought a wooden box.  I put all odd socks in it.  My husband gave up on losing his socks so he resorted to buying pairs of socks all the one colour.  They would not all be lost!

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Now there only three of us at home I am back to enjoying the laundry.  I even ironed my husbands Tee shirts at the weekend!

My Boys did not go to Eton College!

 

Scripture tells me “They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them.”(Isaiah 65:23 NIV)

I watched a programme recently about three boys from a state school who got scholarships to Eton.  It is a prestigious British boarding school for boys from eleven to eighteen years old.  The fees are 33,000 pounds per year.  Music tuition is an added  cost.  Princes and Prime ministers are educated there.

Each child is allocated a room with a bed, desk, chair and wardrobe.  A matron does their laundry and carefully returns it folded and pressed.  I wonder does she have any trouble loosing socks in the wash?  A cleaner refreshes their rooms each day.  Food is provided in the refractory.  

The boys are free to concentrate on their studies, homework and other school activities. If they are homesick they are able to be in touch with parents by Skype. The boys settled into their new school and did well in their exams.  After a hectic term the boys go home to rest and catch up with their families.  

I was thinking it must be difficult for them, leaving family and friends at such a young age.  No home comforts or times to relax with family at the end of the day.  No outings to the beach or movies!  No coffee times with mum or football matches with mum and dad cheering on the sidelines.  No drives to school if one missed the bus.  No fights with their sisters or brothers.  All the normal things that in the tumble of family life causes one’s character to develop.

My last nine children lived in their new home with plenty of space.  Some of them had a room on their own, with a desk to study at, thanks to their dad.  We made sure they kept up with their school work but I seldom had to help them with it.  They were successful in exams, music and sports.

I did the washing, cooking, and cleaning when they were younger.  Mum was laundress, caterer, nurse, cleaner, advisor, protector, trainer, comforter, intercessor, taxi driver and cheer leader.   If there was any trouble at school the teachers knew we were nearby, and things got sorted.  If a child got mistreated we always defended him.  Above all I prayed for each one.  We would pray together each evening as a family.

My husband was their mentor, helping them fill in forms to apply to university and advise them about life choices.  He was there model too.  He has travelled to the nations and our children are extending their wings as well.

As they grew older chores were allocated to each child.  The oldest at home would cook the evening meal.  Someone else was in charge of washing.  Another, hoovering.  Each one tidied his room.  

Eight of the children were able to walk to the grammar school ten minutes from home.  
They came home for lunch.  I had a warm meal ready for them.  No lining up in the school canteen for them.  One of my sons could see the smoke rising from the chimney of our home and he said he looked forward to seeing me at dinner time.

The teachers were great and encouraged my children in their particular talents.  My youngest daughter played the double bass at school.  She took part in the yearly school orchestra performance in Belfast.  There was room to practice her double bass at home.
Another son played the Tuba.  He took part in school orchestra events.  All this experience for free!

We are priveledged to have free education to second level in Northern Ireland.  We have great schools.

My children had many of the benefits of Eton College but were able to live at home and it did not cost us a fortune.  Think of the thousands of pounds we did not have to pay.  If all nine of my children went to Eton We would have had to pay 2,000,000 pounds in total.  

My husband says I have saved him millions of pounds.  It is true!

All fourteen of my children have gone to third level education.  Some of them have been rubbing shoulders with students from Eton! 

I can truly say God has blessed our children as I mentioned at the beginning.  It is not in my own strength I was able to be a multi task mum.  God gave me the strength and he still does.  My children have done well because God promises to bless our children if we obey his voice.