Exam Weather

It is May, the time of the year that college students dread. Exam time. In Ireland there are blue skys and sunshine, typical exam weather. Instead of studying one would prefer to sit in the park and hang out with friends.

Two of my children are studying at St Andrews and Edinburgh. This is their final year and they hope to graduate in June. Abraham finished his last exam this morning. What a relief after five years. He is celebrating. No more lab research, library, exams, reports or lectures. Angela has handed in her dissertation and has three exams to sit. Only a few days to go.

Seven years ago I was suffering from Fourth stage bowel cancer. I was wondering if I would live to see all my children graduate or indeed see any more grandchildren. Nine children have been born since then and I have my outfit ready for two graduations this summer. Praise God, he has kept me alive to enjoy the goodness of God in the land of the living.

I started my treatment of chemotherapy and radiotherapy on July the first in 2010. Each day for five weeks I would attend the City Hospital Cancer Treatment unit in Belfast. I told my husband I wanted to try out a different cafe each day for lunch after my treatment. It would lift my spirits before the long journey back home. Let’s celebrate now, whether I was going to live or die! Brendan didn’t know what to think.

I had been diagnosed with cancer back in April. Since then I was given promises from God that I would be healed. People were praying for me. I was encouraged by this new hope and I began to respond to it. Students from Queen’s University, Belfast graduate In July. Placards outside restaurants advertised places for graduation dinners. I thought I will organize a meal and invite my daughters who were visiting, a step of faith. It will be my graduation from cancer dinner, even though I was just starting my treatment. I had been to a graduation dinner each year for some of my children as they finished university for the previous five years. Three of my daughters joined me for dinner a few days later. They must have thought I was crazy. They were trying to cope with my diagnosis and were hoping the best for me. I had lamb for dinner and remembered another lamb, who was sacrificed for me, Jesus.

Brendan arranged another surprise graduation for me. On the day of my last treatment my daughters Mary and Nora walked into the waiting room of the cancer department with a bunch of flowers and balloons. They presented them to me as Brendan played the song, “Pretty Woman” on his I phone. Music and joy filled the room, a light relief in the somber atmosphere. I was taken by surprise and uplifted with my loving family, another step of faith on my healing journey.

This summer I am seven years cancer free. I’m alive to celebrate my last two children out of fourteen graduate from university. I’m alive to praise God for his touch in my life.

The Influence of St Patrick is Massive

There will be massive celebrations tomorrow on St Patrick’s Day throughout the world.

St Patrick’s day is the second most celebrated festival after Christmas in the whole world!

Why is this? Although a small Island with a population of around 5 million today, Ireland has had a big influence in the world down through the ages. Descendants from Ireland have settled all around the world.
Ireland is positioned strategicly on the edge of Europe. There was easy access to the Americas, Britain and Europe by boat in the past. Nowadays Asia and Australia as well can be accessed by air out of Dublin. Two of my own children live in Canada, two in Scotland and one in England.

During the famine of the nineteen hundreds, millions left Ireland by boat for Northern America. In former days some Irish got free passage to the West Indies as slaves when Cromwell invaded Ireland. Again people were sent to Australia as punishment or got cheap passage in order to populate the new continent.

Priests and nuns went as missionaries to Africa and India. The Irish monks saved writings from Europe that could have been destroyed in the unrest in Europe. In 2007 when recession hit, many young men left Ireland searching for work in Canada, the Middle East, and Australia. Then in the 1970s many left Ireland because of the war and religious discrimination in Northern Ireland to settle abroad, whether in England, Australia or America. Many such people have longings to return to Ireland where some of their family may still live or want to see where their ancestors came from.

Ireland is known as a land of saints and scholars. Ancient Christian writings are stored in Libraries. Ancient ruins of cathedrals and Celtic crosses dot the country, leaving a memory of former Christian communities that prospered. We have had famous Irish singers and poets, dancers and musicians in recent times, keeping the Irish spirit alive. The band U2, the poet, Seamus Heaney, Bob Geldof, Sinead O Cannor to mention just a few.

I am writing from Ireland. Brendan and I wanted to leave Ireland in the late eighties. It was oppressive raising our children in an atmosphere of religious war. We wanted to move to Wales. We prayed and thought about it a lot. God directed us to stay. He cares for us. We were vulnerable as a young family and it was best to stay in Ireland rather that move some where we had to start to get to know people. I’m very glad we stayed.

For many reasons people want to celebrate St Patrick’s day. But let me tell you something about St Patrick. He was not Irish, he came as a missionary to preach the gospel to the people then living in Ireland in the fifth century. The same gospel is available to us today through the scriptures. The good news that Jesus died to forgive sins, heal diseases, set us free from captivity, and restore our lives from oppression and slavery and to give us eternal life in heaven. He had dreams and left writings that we can read and find out more about his life.

For fifteen centuries we have that Christian legacy in Ireland. I am a descendant of those people St Patrick first taught about Jesus. Exodus 20 says “those who love God, their children will be blessed to the thousandth generation.” I am one of those blessed, many generations later.

I want to remember our heritage and I pray that Ireland will again be a place where people are free from oppression and slavery, and our people will not submit to laws that will destroy marriage and our children. Ireland has been a good place for Brendan and I to raise our fourteen children. It one of the few countries in the world where abortion is not legal.

Come let us return to the Lord. God is alive and wants to help us in this twenty first century. So when you are celebrating St Patrick’s day remember who he represents. St Patrick is buried in a grave, history tells us in Downpatrick, near where I live. He represents Jesus whose grave is empty. Jesus is alive and lives to help us in our distress. It is good to follow him. Call upon him this St Patrick’s day. .

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

Jerusalem is Prospering.

Brendan and I are in Jerusalem. Number seventeen bus pulled up to our stop. The largest Mall in Israel and the Sports arena is nearby. On our thirty minute journey into the centre of Jerusalem we viewed the many houses, towers, blocks of flats and new hotels being built on the hills surrounding the Old City of Jerusalem. There are cranes standing outlined against the sky, signs of new building work going on. New roadways, tram and train tracks are being laid. Nowhere else in all the world is there such expansion. The new houses are being built to accommodate the exiles returning and the growing population
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“Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem.
Walk around and count the many towers.
Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future generations.
For that is what God is like.
He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭48:12-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

People from many nations have come to live in Jerusalem. I have met Ethiopians, Americans, Canadians, Russians, Moldovans, Romanians, Columbians, Carribeans, Irish and French people who now live in Israel. Prophesy is being fulfilled before our eyes. In the past the Jewish nation was scattered though out the world and suffered much persecution and rejection. But in these days God is bringing them back to live in Israel again.

““In that day,” says the LORD, “when people are taking an oath, they will no longer say,
‘As surely as the LORD lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’
Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’
Then they will live in their own land.””
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭23:7-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Brendan and I raised a family of fourteen children. Family is very important in the Jewish tradition. We witnessed this as we sat down in the square of the Jewish quarter. Families were sitting together. One little girl cried out “Abba, Abba!” She wanted her daddy to watch her as she stepped up onto wall. Others walked together holding hands with their father and mother. In one family I noticed four little girls dressed in similar modest outfits. Perhaps the mother made the dresses. I remembered back to when my first three girls were young I made them similar blue dresses. Brendan and I looked at each other. We were reminded of the days when we used to walk hand in hand with our children in the forest or beach on a day out.

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I feel at home in Jerusalem. I am a mother in Jerusalem today. It is the only place in the western world where you see big families. Other nations promote birth control and abortion to restrict their population. They do not believe children are a blessing from God.

“May the LORD continually bless you from Zion.
May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live.
May you live to enjoy your grandchildren.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭128:5-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It is the twenty first century. Knowledge and travel has increased. I am seeing the prosperity of Jerusalem. I have been to Jerusalem four times since I was healed from fourth stage cancer. I have seen seven more grandchildren born. God has fulfilled his promise to me from Psalm 128. God is alive and bringing about his promises to the Jewish people and to my husband and I in these days.

Recognise. Daily Prompt.

Dont I recognise youI” said the doctor to my husband. ” I have seen you before.” My husband just looked at him. Brendan was asked to come join me in the waiting room in the accident and emergency department of the local hospital. The doctor had just examined me. My daughter who is a doctor and my husband thought from my symptoms I must have cancer. They were anxious to hear the doctor’s opinion of my condition.

“Are you the man with the big family?” Brendan wanted to know how I was and not be questioned on another subject.
” I know now. Did you write books for India? There are two books of yours in my mother’s home in Kerala, India. There is a photo of your big family on the front.”
Brendan was perplexed.

Now to the matter of my condition. He discovered a firm mass in my bowel when he examined me. He didn’t mention cancer, but said he would refer me for further tests to the cancer unit in Belfast and request immediate attention. I got an appointment to see a specialist in two weeks time. There is usually a longer waiting time. We got favour because the doctor recognised Brendan.

We left the hospital resigned that I had some serious condition. We went home to tell our family that mummy wasn’t well. I had always been healthy. The only time I was in hospital was to have my children. I felt numb. My husband felt numb. We were weak and began to think of what the future would hold for us. I felt I was dying. I had no strength.

Brendan began to reflect on meeting the India doctor earlier in the hospital. Before the doctor told Brendan any bad news, he reminded Brendan of the books he had written for India. Brendan and I had sacrificed our time and finances to write two books for a Christian ministry, “Christ for India.” The Lord was speaking to his heart and saying “I am here with you in your day of trouble. I remember your sacrifice for the poor.”

Psalm 91 gives me a promise from God’s Word, I will be with you in trouble and deliver you out of it.
Psalm 41 says, he who has regard for the poor The Lord will raise him up from his sick bed.”
Psalm 112 says The man who fears the Lord will have no fear of bad news.

In my day of trouble and weakness God reassured us of his care. He is faithful to keep his promises. Thus began my journey through cancer. Four months later I believed I was healed of fourth stage cancer.
It was good the doctor was on duty that day. He did recognise Brendan, the man with the big family.

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

Keeping my Home Clean

“Where there are no oxen, the stall is clean, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭14:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬
I found great comfort from this scripture when I was rearing my children. There is plenty of hard work and plenty of mess; Brendan and I had to see beyond the hum drum of daily life. We had young children but they will grow to become adults who will make a difference in the world. They will work, prosper and increase as they have wives and families of their own. They will bring a harvest of good for others. They will make a difference in their generation.

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It’s just as well I had an easy going disposition. I never thought it a priority to dust and clean and Hoover . Some people are house proud and keep their home like a palace where the family cannot relax. Don’t leave that there. Pick that up. Wipe that mess up. If I was constantly demanding my husband or children keep the house clean it would not be home where everyone enjoyed being together. My energy went into breast feeding, nursing, cooking, shopping, overseeing, driving and seeing to the needs of others. There was no extra energy to have the house spick and span. My husband had to get used to the busyness in a big family. He lived with his mother as an only child before we were married.

I kept the amount of clothes each child had to a minimum. That meant less washing, and less clothes to be left on the floor of the bedrooms. Each child who was old enough helped with clearing of dishes, filling the dishwasher, washing of pots and pans and sweeping of the floor after each meal. We had wooden floors which were easy to brush and wipe with a mop. I expected the children to look after and keep their bedrooms clean. I never got to the top of the house each day to check. Peace reigned instead of stressing over untidy bedrooms or dirty dishes.

Life was to be lived. After school there was time to play with friends outdoors, or with toys indoors. My girls enjoyed reading books. They would be found in their rooms engrossed in a book. We didn’t have a television in those early years. We found it a waste of our time. Often it brought strife. There would be diagreement of what programme to watch. We got rid of it and we found plenty of other things to occupy us.

My big kitchen has a tiled, speckled flour. The dirt does not show up on it. It can be left for days without being cleaned.

We had green carpets throughout the bedrooms. They kept the rooms warm but didn’t show up spills or grim. A weekly Hoover refreshed the carpets to keep them clean. Buying a dishwasher was my first big investment in my kitchen. It proved invaluable. Dishes could be stored in it and washed when it was full. That kept the benches clear and clean.

My household was full of family over the Christmas period. Bathrooms needed cleaned, the washing machine was in use a lot, clothes needed dried, beds needed changed for new visitors. I felt I was running an hotel.

It is quiet now with children left home. There is less work needed to keep the house. The stall is clean.

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

The First Flowers of Spring.

My daughter, husband and four children came to visit yesterday. They have to make a three hour journey from the south of Ireland.  This was their Christmas visit as life was too busy for us all to see each other then.  The children have past the baby and play school stage. No buggies or car seats to contend with. Now the grandchildren are approaching the teenage years. Long legs and reaching arms need room.  They are blooming like the flowers Shann reached me.  Mark’s people carrier Jeep has served the family well.

They all poured out of the vehicle, glad of the stretch. We shared hugs, so glad to see each other. Bags of presents weren’t forgotten in the back seat. I didn’t notice their visiting student from Spain at first. She is staying with them for six weeks to improve her English. A student exchange has been working between Ireland and Spain for many years. The Spanish like the tone of the English the Irish use.

I remembered back to when we would take our children on trips in our van to the beach, the playground or a forest. They poured out of the van and ran in every direction like calves released from the stall. Brendan would whistle and they would come back when it was time for home.

We gathered in the kitchen for lunch. The children were excited to be back at Granda’s house.

“I’m sorry they’re a bit battered and bruised,” Shann said. I wasn’t paying attention as I reached a bowl from the cupboard. There was clattering of delph and cutlery as the girls set the table.
“Did Mark have to stop and deal with the children?” I said thinking it was the children Shann was talking about.  I looked up.  She was referring to the bunch of flowers she had given me.
We all had a good laugh. I love this first bunch of spring flowers.

“Did you come across on the ferry?” I asked Mark. “Yes” he said. “The attendant informed me there was a special offer on this Sunday. If you buy a return ticket we can deal with any children who have misbehaved. We throw them overboard.” We burst out laughing again. This is Irish humour. I hope the Spanish girl didn’t mind.

On the sunny afternoon all the girls headed down to the shore. Hannah arranged a competition to see who could pick the most sea glass for granny.  That was good idea because it motivated them to search all over the place. They had the extra blessing of seeing different birds, a heron, gulls, oystercatchers, Brent geese and redshanks.

Back at the house the treasure was displayed and counted. Ten points for each blue glass, five for green and three for white. The winner was announced, cheered and rewarded. They had good fun. I have the added benefit of all that sea glass to work with.

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Meanwhile Mark, with some helpers loaded up bicycles, table and chairs he had stored with us since they moved house. He secured it to the top of the jeep. No worries with Mark. Too soon it was time to go. Mark sped off with a bigger load. I hope they got across on the ferry with no one or nothing going overboard.  A great day.

Warning in Dreams

I started to read from Matthew’s gospel each day since the beginning of this new year. I am excited to read in the first three chapters there are five dreams given by God. The first was given to Joseph, who was engaged to Mary. When he heard Mary was pregnant he decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace her publicly.

“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.””

The angel reassured Joseph in his distress and told him what to do. Joseph obeyed the Angel. He didn’t question or doubt or be unbelieving.

Here are the other references to the dreams.

“After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭2:9-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭2:13, 19-20, 22-23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Just in two chapters of Matthew we read about God speaking to Joseph four times to guide him as the guardian of Jesus before and after his birth and Mary his wife. This is a great encouragement of any nervous man who doesn’t know who to marry or where to live, for the safety of his family. God is good and caring. It is good to trust in God.

Three Magi came to see the young baby Jesus bearing gifts, of gold, frankincense and myrrh. What did Joseph think when the Magi fell down before Jesus to worship the new baby, Jesus. Joseph didn’t know what was happening. These gifts would have covered the expense of his travels to Egypt, his stay there until he returned.

God spoke to the Magi in a dream to warn them not to go back to Herod who wanted to kill anyone who claimed to be a king. The Magi had come to Jerusalem looking for the new born King of the Jews.

The fact that God spoke to Joseph and the Magi in dreams is an encouragement for anyone starting out on a journey of faith. God will guide along the way.

God has spoken often to my husband, myself and other members of the family to guide us in testing times. When I was suffering from cancer, my husband and family had dreams to encourage me I was going to be healed. This helped me enter into faith to receive my healing.

Action and faith is required after God speaks. Joseph went to Egypt after he was warned in a dream. The Magi obeyed God and didn’t go back to Herod.

My son had a dream the first night after I started my chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I was feeling discouraged and fearful. God sent help. In the dream he heard a voice say, “The blood is not getting to the cancer. His sister, who is a doctor said in the dream “let’s wait till the doctors tell us.””

It is right to go to the doctor to show one is healed. When Jesus healed the lepers he told them to go to the doctors to show they were healed. This dream greatly encouraged me. It was God’s will to heal me but I had to believe myself and act as if I was healed. I went through the treatment of five weeks the doctors advised.

But when they wanted to operate I told them I knew I was healed of cancer and I didn’t need an operation. The doctors thought I was crazy. I remained strong in my faith and didn’t waver. The doctor did a colonoscopy. There was no sign of the tumor. I showed my self to the doctors. They saw the tumor was gone. Even after seeing the photos of my clear colon the surgeon insisted I still have an operation in case the cancer was still there. I refused. I said to the surgeon “I believe that God has healed me completely of cancer.” He was perplexed.

I was confident to speak to the top cancer surgeon because of the revelation from God in my son’s dream. If I gave into doubt or fear I would not have been healed. I showed myself to the doctors and they couldn’t find the tumor. I remain healed seven years later and I do not have to take any medicine! Thank you Lord.

Let me explain a little more how I received my healing. In Joel I read about God speaking through the prophet.

““Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”
‭‭Joel‬ ‭2:12-13, 28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In Joel God warned the people to return to Him with fasting and mourning. When I had cancer it was a time of mourning and weeping for me. I had to cry out to God. I confessed my sins of rebellion, independence, self ambition, resentment, bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness. God forgave my sins. After my confession of sin I was healed of cancer. Then God sent his dreams to bring my healing as Joel promised.

So at the beginning of this New Year 2017 let us return to the Lord. Let us thank him for all his goodness and mercy. He does not treat us as our sins deserve. He is pleased with a contrite heart. As David said in Psalm 51 “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence O Lord.” Only God knows what is lurking in our hearts. I didn’t know what was in my heart. God had to reveal it to me.