Ring Them Bells.

I was in Liverpool last weekend. I attended a church service in Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral at eleven o clock.  There were four bells swinging in the tower. They rang out their chimes over the city for all to hear.  After the service the bells peeled again as the people returned to their different homes over the city.  We were together for a special occasion.

The church bells were ringing as we made our way up the steps. I could see four bells of different sizes in the tower above the entrance. I stood for a while and looked up. I could see the clapper of the bell hitting one side and then the other, causing the bell to ring. All four bells were ringing and making a sound that stirred joy in me. I felt part of something special going on.

Clapper in the dictionary means someone or thing that claps. Don’t we clap to show appreciation or encouragement? The bells were encouraging us to come to meet together for prayer. Bells are rung at other times. They may ring for a special service, a wedding or a funeral and make different tones for each event.

I hear the words of a song going through my mind. It was sang by Judy Garland. You can check it out on U Tube.

Ding dong ding dong
Do you hear the bells go ding dong
Do you know
Do you know why they’re ringing
The bells are ringing for me and my gal,
The birds are singing for me and my gal,
They’re congregating for me and my gal,
The Parson’s waiting for me and my gal.
And sometime
We’re gonna build a little home for two,
Or three or four or more,
In Love-land for me and my gal

Bells rang out over London when Prince William and Kate got married.

I listen to the radio when I am driving in my car. I often hear snippets of information that are important. This week after my trip to Liverpool I listened to a programme about Russiian bells on BBC 4.

The sound of bells are very dear to the Russian Orthodox believers. Russian Composers in the twentieth century were inspired by the sound of bells ringing. The Russian bells are rang in a different way from those in the west. A cord is attached to the clapper. The bell ringer pulls on the clapper lightly and let’s it hit againt the wall of the bell. Not only did the people believe the bells ringing were a call to pray but they felt the bells sounded like the voice of God.

The Orthodox bells fell silent in 1931 when Stalin started his regime of Communism in Russia. Bells were cut down from towers, smashed and broken. The metal was used to make bullets for the Russian army. Not only were the bells broken. The people’s hearts were broken. They sensed the voice of God was silenced. The people mourned for many years.

Some large bells were rescued and brought to America where they were placed in Harvard university. In 1991 when communism fell some men in America arranged for the return of the bells to Russia. One man spent ten million dollars to help with the restoration work. People were crying in the streets on the return of the bells. They looked forward to hearing the bells ringing again. Someone commentated that it is the only lasting co operation between Russian and America.

Because of the communism regime the knowledge of how to make the bells was almost forgotten. After communism bells were again made and returned to Church towers to ring again.

The sound of the bell is likened to the sound of the trumpet or shofar in Israel. God commanded the people of Isreal to sound the trumpet for different events. One sound was given to move camp. Another sound was made to go to war. And another was a weapon of war. God moved on behalf of the people when the shofar was blown. He struck their enemies down when they sounded the trumpet. They walked round Jerico seven days and on the last day they blew the trumpets and the walls of Jerico fell down. Likewise the people of Russia believe God was with them when the bells were rung.

I discovered a bell outside my back door. I will ring it often. May God come to our aid when I ring it. May bells of joy ring throughout our land again.

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Rosh Hashanah

 

“Today, the feast of Rosh Hashanah is being celebrated by the people of Israel. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is one of Judaism’s holiest days. … Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur a holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement.”. Quote from “History.com”

It is the beginning of the Jewish civil New Year. The people of Israel celebrate with friends and family for two days. It is the time when they look back on the past year and reflect on their failings and successes. They dip apples into honey sharing pieces and wish each other a sweet new year. They throw pieces of bread into water signifying their sins being washed away. These two days are the beginning of a season of repentance before God ending in Yum Kippur, when the people fast.

Tonight I was reading from Psalm 65.

What mighty praise O God, awaits you in Zion.
We will fulfil our vows to you because you answer our prayers
and to you all people will come.
Though our hearts are filled with sins you forgive them all.
You are the hope of everyone on earth.
You formed the mountains by your power.

What wonderful words of love and promise from God!

Let us join with the people of Israel at this season and reflect on our failings this past year. God has provided his Son Jesus to wash away our sins. Jesus died on the cross and shed his blood for the forgiveness of all people’s sins, Jews and Gentiles. All one has to do is believe there is a God, our Father in heaven and believe in his Son Jesus.
The Jews believe in the God of Creation, but do not have a revelation of Jesus yet.

Jesus breaks the power of sin in our lives. We often feel we cannot be forgiven for the wrong we have done. Or we keep doing the same wrong over and over again and never feel free from condemnation and guilt. Woe is me. But Jesus brings us good news. He sets one free from sin’s power and condemnation and guilt. He washes us as white as snow when we come to him. He remembers our sins no more. Our sins are truly washed away.  I know my sins are forgiven and I am healed of deathly cancer through the power of Jesus.  He defeated the power of sin and the power of death in cancer over me.  I’m alive to tell the tale.

““For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins.”
But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.
Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:15, 19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Now some people believe Jesus forgives their sins and don’t need to keep asking for forgiveness each year.  It is good to come before God and admit our failings.

The Word of God says we are to confess our sins one to another so we will be healed.

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
‭‭James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I believe I needed to confess my sins to others and they prayed for me so my body could be healed of cancer.

Have a sweet year ahead.  Be forgiven and healed.

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.”

Living in Harmony

Watching a wildlife program about Japan has inspired me.

The most northerly island, Hokkaido has the harshest climate of all the islands of Japan. The people who have settled there are farmers who grow cereals and flowers in the short summer. Fishermen harvest the rich sea before the cold of winter freezes it over.

In September the Pacific salmon begin to return to the rivers of Hokkaido to spawn. Black bears gather at the coast to feast on the fish that team in the river mouths. Fishermen who also collect the bounty of salmon, sit mending their nets. These men and bears live in harmony with each other. There is plenty of food for both. Often a mother bear is fiercely protective of her cubs, but there is no need to fear in Hokkaido.

The farmers have reclaimed marshland on the coastlands. They were once the feeding grounds of large, tall, white birds called the Red Crowned Cranes. To the Japanese they are symbols of beauty and long life. A century ago their numbers were reduced to thirty pairs. They were in danger of extinction. The farmers, who drained the cranes’s feeding areas, rescued the cranes by giving them grain through the winter when the ground is frozen. Their numbers have now grown to 1000. Here is another example of men and wildlife living in harmony. They co-exist in the harsh conditions.

These cranes are known most of all for their singing and dancing. When they gather in large numbers they put on a show. The enormous birds lift up their heads and raise a deep call from their throats. They pirouette, jump and flap their large wings. They don’t crash on the icy ground. Their performance reminded me of the ballet dancers I saw recently in “Giselle.” The male star leapt across the stage. The many ballerinas created an enchanting atmosphere with their movements in the second act.

The Red Crested Cranes are an example to us. They live in a cold, harsh environment. They could chose a more comfortable climate. Instead they flourish, dance and sing where they are meant to be. Their beauty, strength and endurance are to be admired. I am encouraged to lift up my voice and dance, like the cranes before the One who created me, even in the most difficult of situations. The psalmist calls us to praise Him. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Psalm 150 like King David danced with all his might before the Lord when he brought back the Ark of the Lord.

Will You Handle Snakes?

I have enjoyed a BBC series about the people and nature of Japan. It is called the Enchanted Islands of Japan. There are many instances of how wild animals, nature and humans work together.

On one small island Okinawa, a person who is eighty years old is called young. Many of the seniors live to over one hundred years old. They put long life down to love, the ideal climate, growing their own vegetables and living off the sea produce.

Two seventy year old woman go down to the sea every evening to fish for snakes, which live in the warm, fertile water around the coral reefs. They need to come to the surface for air. At night time they gather in caves for shelter and to drink fresh water. Their venom is ten times stronger than that of a rattlesnake. The two small ladies start off at dusk on their mission. Each lady goes down into the cave on her bare feet. She reachs into the water and pulls out a snake by its neck. She has no fear. The snake doesn’t resist. It is collected in a net till the night’s catch is complete. These ladies have followed a tradition that was handed down on these islands over many years.  They are the only ones left on the island who fish for snakes. Modernism has stopped this ancient craft.

Next day the snakes are smoked and cooked to be eaten. This meal is regarded as a delicacy and was reserved for special people, even kings in the past. I laughed when I watched this part of the programme. Genesis 3 tells me that the woman will crush the serpents head. Are these woman doing what it says. They have no fear of the snakes, whereas a cameraman did not want to enter the water without protective clothing. Are these ladies an example to us not to be afraid of the very thing people are afraid of, snakes, physically and spiritually?  Has modernism and humanistic thinking blinded mankind to the truth that the Devil has power and we need a saviour who can release us from his power.  Yes the saviour has come.  He is Jesus and he came to destroy the works of the devil.  He even told his followers to do the same.

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭3:15‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus confirmed what Genesis says when he spoke to his disciples.

It reminded me where Jesus told his disciples you will pick up snakes and scorpions and they will not harm you.

“The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:17-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus gives me power over all the power of the devil. Yes the devil has power but Jesus defeated him when he died on the cross. In Jesus name I can defeat demons. I do not see them but I see their fruit in sickness and bondage over people.

Women are you willing to pick up snakes and break the power of the enemy of your soul and your family. They will be bread for you. You have the authority given by God and with the power of the Blood of Jesus you will win.

Each morning I go fishing for snakes when I pray in my room.  I break the power of the enemy stealing my family or others who come to mind in Jesus name.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.

To give you an example.  There is a spiritual snake called the Spirit of Phyton.  The natural Phyton is one of the largest snakes in the world.  It can grow to 26 feet.  It does not have any venom.  How it kills its prey is by wrapping itself around its victim and squeezing it to death. This spirit works slowly on a person to bring deception to his mind and then bring a disease which will operate slowly to bring death.  The person will not be healed unless the Phyton spirit is cast out.

Lets believe in Jesus and use the authority he gave us.

Father of Fourteen Triumphs

Triumph is rarely instant. It often comes at the end of a period of patient endurance. This week my husband and I have joy. We saw the success of a long campaign as regards our children’s education.

We are celebrating all fourteen of our children having qualified with a degree from top universities in the United Kingdom. Our two youngest children just found out their results: Abraham got a 2: 1 degree in Chemistry from St Andrews and Angela got a 2:1 degree in Neuroscience from Edinburgh. We will be attending their graduations in June and July.

Psalm 128 says
“How joyful are those who fear the Lord — all who follow his ways!
You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table.
That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭128:1-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I want to thank my husband. He chose to follow The Lord many years ago. Today almost forty years later I see the fruit of his choice back then. I am happy at his side and his children are successful. He has been faithful through many difficulties of family life in this generation when being a father is not honored.

Brendan chose to have as many children as God would give him. It has not been easy. One has had to be patient, endure, remain calm, pray in times of trouble and rejoice in times of joy.
An Arab taxi driver in Israel said to Brendan when he learned we had fourteen children, “You will go straight to heaven because it must be hell on earth.” A lady in Florida said “Oh your poor husband.” when I told her we had fourteen children.

I must admit I have not been as sympathetic with Brendan. But God sees Brendan’s heart and has been with him through many trials and temptations. He has strengthened him when the going got tough. But as the song says “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” I would not be alive unless he believed that God would heal me. I had fourth stage cancer and I would not be here to see my children graduate.

My dad was a pioneer in his day when there wasn’t much money. He wanted his eight girls and two sons to receive an education. We all attended grammar school. My sisters qualified as teachers and nurses. I graduated from the University of Ulster.

Brendan loved books from he was young. He would spend many hours in his local library. When he visited friends with his mother he would take down the books from the shelf and read while his mum chatted. His call to be a writer was developing back then.
He encouraged his children to do well in education. There was always books in our home and a desk in each of the children’s room to do their homework. We didn’t have a TV when our children were growing up. Those children developed a love of reading books. Brendan coached his children and inspired them to be high achievers. If they failed he helped them to get going again.

We were blessed to have good schools for our children to attend, in Coleraine and Downpatrick in Northern Ireland. So a big thank you for all those teachers who encouraged and took an interest in our children.

A big thank you to each of my children who endured the difficulties and temptations that university life brings your way. You succeeded. You endured to the end. I am proud of you.

Above all God blessed us all with health and strength to achieve this success.

“O clap your hands, all you people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭47:1‬ ‭KJV‬‬

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

The Father of Fourteen Children

Today my husband and I are celebrating a great Achievment, that all fourteen of our children have qualified with a degree from top universities in the United Kingdom. Our two youngest children just found out their results: Abraham got a 2: 1 degree in Chemistry from St Andrews and Angela got a 2:1 degree in Neuroscience from Edinburgh. We will be attending their graduations in June and July.

Psalm 128 says
“How joyful are those who fear the Lord — all who follow his ways!
You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table.
That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭128:1-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I want to thank my husband. He chose to follow The Lord many years ago. Today almost forty years later I see the fruit of his choice back then. I am happy at his side and his children are successful. He has been faithful through many difficulties of family life in this generation when being a father is not honored.

Brendan chose to have as many children as God would give him. It has not been easy. One has had to be patient, endure, remain calm, pray in times of trouble and rejoice in times of joy.
An Arab taxi driver in Israel said to Brendan when he learned we had fourteen children, “You will go straight to heaven because it must be hell on earth.” A lady in Florida said “Oh your poor husband.” when I told her we had fourteen children.

I must admit I have not been as sympathetic with Brendan. But God sees Brendan’s heart and has been with him through many trials and temptations. He has strengthened him when the going got tough. But as the song says “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” I would not be alive unless he believed that God would heal me. I had fourth stage cancer and I would not be here to see my children graduate.

My dad was a pioneer in his day when there wasn’t much money. He wanted his eight girls and two sons to receive an education. We all attended grammar school. My sisters qualified as teachers and nurses. I graduated from the University of Ulster.

Brendan loved books from he was young. He would spend many hours in his local library. When he visited friends with his mother he would take down the books from the shelf and read while his mum chatted. His call to be a writer was developing back then.
He encouraged his children to do well in education. There was always books in our home and a desk in each of the children’s room to do their homework. We didn’t have a TV when our children were growing up. Those children developed a love of reading books. Brendan coached his children and inspired them to be high achievers. If they failed he helped them to get going again.

We were blessed to have good schools for our children to attend, in Coleraine and Downpatrick in Northern Ireland. So a big thank you for all those teachers who encouraged and took an interest in our children.

A big thank you to each of my children who endured the difficulties and temptations that university life brings your way. You succeeded. You endured to the end. I am proud of you.

Above all God blessed us all with health and strength to achieve this success.

But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.””
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:17‬ ‭NIV