Absolute Beauty, Daily Prompt. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/absolute-beauty/

Thank you for today’s daily prompt.
It could not have been more timely.
On the fourteenth of September our thirteenth grandchild was born in Toronto, Canada. 
Our son sent us a photograph.
I see that she is an Absolute Beauty.
I can almost smell her smooth, soft baby skin.
I can feel the peace she emanates.
Well done Mum
What a joy for her mum and dad and extended families.
I was able to get to see most of my other grandchildren soon after they were born.
I will have to wait to see this little one.
When I had my own children I always enjoyed nursing my new born infant.
It is a special moment for every mother.
It didn’t matter to me if it was my first or fourteenth.
Each baby was special to my husband and I.
Their dad was at each of  their births.
This a special moment for the child to be held by their father.
His comforting hands can reassure the little one’s body and soul after the trauma of being delivered into this world.
He received each child as a gift from God.
Jesus said 

“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 
Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭18‬:‭2-5, 10‬ NIV)

He also said “a little Child shall lead them”
Our families welcome our new grand daughter and will support her parents to look after her.  As we do so we welcome Jesus and her angel who will guard her.  She is a special child.  
Thank you Lord for your gift to us.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/absolute-beauty/

The Fields are White Unto Harvest

I grew up on a small farm in Co Down, Ireland.
My dad raised ten children from farming the land.
He kept a herd of Freisians cows.
That meant milking the cows twice a day.
No lying in bed when one felt like it.
Mum reared chickens and sold the eggs to a local grocery store.
I used to carry buckets of grain and water across a field to feed the chickens, and then collect the eggs.
Dad grew crops of potatoes for the family’s use and oats and barley to supplement the feed for the animals.
We children always helped out when we could.
When the oats crop was ripe and cut, we would help dad gather up the stalks and bind them into sheaves.  The sheaves were then collected and built into a stack.  At the top of the stack an empty food sack was tied on to keep the seeds and stalks dry until threshing day.

 

image

 
Here is a photograph I took recently of such stacks.  There are eight stacks, the number of daughters my father had. The scene prompted me to write this post.
This farmer keeps the tradition of threshing going to show the next generation how the oats were harvested.

Threshing day for dad would come around.   Farmers in the neighbourhood came to help with the work.
A Threshing machine was used to separate the seeds from the straw, and bind the straw into bales to be stored for cattle bedding.
It was an exciting and joyful day for our family.  We helped our mum prepare a big pot of stew and home made soda bread to feed all the men who came to help.  The boys helped the men while us girls played around in the sunshine.  It was a golden scene with the sun gleaming off the straw.
In Ireland in the past this harvest event would have been a time for match making.
A marriage could be arranged between a suitable young man at the threshing and a daughter of the household.
The single men who attended dad’s harvest may have had designs on us daughters, but we thought they were far too old for us.

We found our husbands in farther away fields in other counties.
Today some of our children have found husbands and wives from the nations.
We got news yesterday of the birth of our Canadian grandchild!  This is my harvest!

A very long way from the Threshing field in Dunmore.
Life in the past was more leisurely and people depended on each other to help with the harvest.
It did not matter if you were a Protestant or a Catholic when it came to helping your neighbour.
We  could not hate our neighbours.
Sadly the community atmosphere has disappeared.
Small farmers have to supplement their income with another job.
Big families are rare.
The combine harvester sweeps up the harvest .
No more cups of tea and soda bread with melted butter running down the sides in the harvest field.
No more talking and sharing stories or finding out who had got married or had a baby.

Jesus was familiar with harvest time in the Land of Israel.  He would have seen the farmers gather in the grapes, olives and wheat.  He mentioned stories relating to the harvest, olives being pressed to make olive oil, grapes being crushed to make wine and grain being crushed into flour to make bread.

We remember His death through the breaking of bread and drinking wine, the fruit of the vine.

He spoke of a different kind of harvest, the harvest of souls to bring to heaven.  He is looking for workers in His Harvest.  Let us bring joy to Jesus.

 
Nowadays we find out the news from friends via Facebook.
The harvest field is now the nations.
Welcome to my field.
Thank you for listening to my story.

The God who made the Stars is a Nurse!

There has been a full moon and a clear sky these past few nights in Bright where I live in Ireland.
I look up at the stars and I am amazed that God called each one by name.

He made all the stars—the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky.
Job 9 v 9

King David looked up at the stars as well and wrote

“When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place— what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?” (‭Psalms‬ ‭8‬:‭3-4‬ NLT)

God cares for the individual.  Even though he is Mighty he reaches down to our level to touch us.

In another Psalm it is written

“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. He counts the stars and calls them all by name. How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!”
Psalm 147

Why is healing mentioned alongside the stars?

The God, who made the stars for everyone to see everywhere on the earth, is the one who heals the broken hearted and binds up our wounds.  

When anyone anywhere looks up at the sky and sees the stars he can be encouraged that the God who made them, will heal his diseases and heal his broken heart and care for him.

I was reading in God’s word that God cares for us like a gentle flowing stream.
“My care for the people of Judah is like the gently flowing waters of Shiloah.”
Isaiah 8 v 8

When I was in hospital waiting to through a long operation I read this word from the Bible.

The LORD nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health. (‭Psalms‬ ‭41‬:‭3‬ NLT)

I took great comfort from this word and as a result I went into the operation without fear. God brought me through the operation safely and I was restored to full health.

Everyone wants to be in good health. You can have good health by trusting in Jesus. He will restore you to health when you are sick.

What a mighty God yet he will nurse us back to health.

Hello Morning Glory

The full moon is on my left high in the sky.
An aeroplane flies south just in front of the moon.
It is lit up by the light of the sun reflecting off its fuselage.
The sun is rising to my right.
The sky is changing from water colours of pink and purple to pale blue.
It will get brighter and warmer minute by minute and light up my kitchen.
Swallows twitter, swirl and rest on the telephone wires, gathering for their exit to warmer countries of the south.
I hear a croaky crow.  He is scavenging for breakfast.

Like the song “All God’s creatures got a place in the choir.
Some sing low and some sing higher.
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire.”

A solitary robin tweets.  I look out and he is sitting on the fence.
He will stay close all winter.  He will stick it out in the Irish weather, sun, wind or cold.
The robin was my mother in law’s favourite bird.
It visited her narrow back yard.
It brought delight to her in her latter years when she was confined to her home.
She passed away last week at the age of ninety four.
The shadows of the trees and house get shorimageter and darker as the sun rises.

 

A dozen sheep form a line as they walk down to the meadow opposite to graze in the warmth of the rising sun.
Their thirst will be quenched from the dew on the grass.
Some of my roses have responded to the September warmth and sunshine.
The red and yellow blossoms surprise me.
“Action”.
No it is not a film studio.
It is what I see and hear as I look out from my desk this morning.
The Lord is the director of this show.

This  scripture is very true.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. (‭Psalm‬ ‭19‬:‭1, 4-6‬ NIV)
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Hovering around him were seraphim, each with six wings.
In a great chorus they sang “Holy, holy, holy is The Lord Almighty! The whole earth is filled with his glory. The glorious singing shook the Temple. Isaiah 6 v 2

May the Sun of Righteousness rise with healing for you today.  Malachi.

Packed Up and Back to University

My two children left this morning to catch the boat to Scotland.
Aaron was the first of our children to go to university in Scotland.
Brendan and I had a friend who lived in Dundeimagee.
We had visited him a couple of times so I think we suggested Aaron apply to university there.
I was busy at home with other children so Brendan and I sent Aaron off with our blessing.
He headed off with one piece of luggage, a rucksack.
He travelled by bus to the Larne ferry to Stranraer and made his way on up to Dundee.
I don’t think he had much money in his pocket to tide him over till his grant came in.
He left the security of home to make a way in the world.

I was reading today from the scripture in Psalm 15

“You show me the path of life,
The fullness of joy in your presence,
At your right hand is happiness for ever.”

Sixteen years on God has been faithful to show Aaron the path of life.
He has made his home in Slovakia with his wife and three children.
In the sixteen years since eight children have travelled across the water to university.
My husband and I have travelled with them to see them settled into their accomodation.
Two of my children Angela and Abraham set off early this morning to catch the ferry to Scotland.
They start back to university next week in their second and third years respectfully.
My son John is leaving them to the boat in the van.
No hauling heavy luggage onto a bus.
They were wondering how were they going to get all their luggage onto the bus or train at the other side.
I read them an article from the Sunday Times written by Roland White.
I quote,

It is fair to say I did not travel light.  There was a trunk, two suitcases, a rucksack, a sleeping bag and books.  I vividly recall the two mile track from the train station to my digs. First I carried the trunk 40 yards.  Then I came back for the cases. And the rucksack. Then I carried the trunk again.  And so on.  I arrived at my digs in late afternoon, sweating heavily.  There was nobody in.

They did not complain any more.
I just got a text to say they are on the boat, setting out on the next stage of the path of life.
I am not sad because my help comes from The Lord who shows me the Path of Life and I have faith that God will guide my children as well.

Quote from The Sunday Times, News Review,  Roland White

God is a Parent

There is nursery rhyme that goes.

There was an old woman she lived in shoe,
She had so many children she did not know what to do.
She gave them some broth without any bread
and whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

A gal has got to do what a gal has to do!

When I am at my wits end and don’t know what to do with my children I laugh when I remember this nursery rhyme.
That is how it is sometimes.
That was fine when the children were young.
How does one cope when one’s son or daughter chooses to follow the prodigal route?
I get encouraged when I read God’s word.
God is a parent too. In Isaiah 1 it says

Hear Oh heavens, Listen Oh earth!  This is what The Lord says.
“The children I raised and cared for have turned against me.
Even the animals, the donkey and ox know their owner and appreciate his care, but not my people Israel.”

Israel were God’s children.  He chose them and worked miracles to save them in the desert and helped them cross the Red Sea.  He brought them into the Promised Land.  But the more he blessed them the more they turned away.
Aren’t we all like that to our parents?
As I find myself a parent, distressed, I find comfort because God understands.
He has pain too when his children go astray and disobey.
God likened himself to a mother hen.
Like the hen he longs to protect his children from danger and keep them safe close to him, warm and comforted under his wing.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. (‭Matthew‬ ‭23‬:‭37‬ NIV), Jesus said.

Israel had many feast days and sacrifices they carried out, but God was not interested in them.  He stopped listening to their prayers.  He wanted them to
Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭1‬:‭17‬ NIV)

God wants us to come to him.
If we have turned away he wants us to return.

Isaiah 1 v 19 says
“If you would only obey and let me help you.  Then you will have plenty to eat.  But if you keep turning away and refusing to listen you will be destroyed by your enemies.”

He wants us to listen to him.
How can one listen to God today.
Stop everything, turn off all noise.
Be still and know I am God.
Some people dread the thought of having silence or the idea God can speak to them.
They are frightened he is going to ask them to do something they don’t want to do.
If you don’t want to change then you may not be ready to be alone with God.
God is not up in the sky where we can’t find him.
Or at the other end of the world.
He is near in your heart. Stop and listen.
You will start out on a journey you will never regret.

 

Where the Mountains of Mourne Sweep Down to the Sea

imageI went to Newcastle today, where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.
Our family is mourning the death of a much loved Grandmother, who died at the age of 94.
I needed to get away from the emotions and pressures of the present moment.
It was one of those days that carry over a bit of Summer into Autumn.
I did not want to walk far, but a special treat came to me.
My eye caught the colours of flowers growing along the river bank.

 

I was not expecting to see such an oasis of all kinds of meadow flowers.
Someone had planted them.
It is a tourist attraction that did not cost much, a few packets of seeds.
It will prove to be a great hit with the evening strollers.
I thought of the Scripture,

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.” (‭Isaiah‬ ‭44‬:‭3-4‬ NIV)

This is a wonderful promise I hold onto for my children.
God is pouring out his blessing today on my mother in law’s descendants, even in the midst of sorrow.