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.

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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.

I’m Nobody’s Child

I listened to a song my husband was playing on his music system.
The words go,

As I was slowly passing an orphans home today
I stopped for just a little while to watch the children play
A lone boy standin’, and when I asked him why
He turned with eyes that could not see, and he began to cry
I’m nobody’s child, I’m nobody’s child
Just like a flower, I’m growin’ wild
No mama’s arms to hold me, no daddy’s smile
Nobody wants me; I’m nobody’s child
In every town and village
There are places just like this
With rows and rows of children
And babies in their cribs
They’ve long since stopped their cryin’
As no one ever hears
And no one there to notice them or take away their fears
Written by Cy Coben, Mel Foree • Copyright © BMG Rights Management US, LLC”

Nobody’s Child sung by The Travelling Wilberys
This song was written back in 1949 when orphanages were common.  They were set up to care for children whose parents had died or had no one to care for them.  Some children were given the opportunity to be adopted into a caring family.  The above song describe an orphan’s situation clearly.

When my husband was in China, he visited an orphanage.  Most of the children were girls.  With China’s one child policy a boy was preferred to a a girl.  Many girls were left abandoned in streets or fields.  The children lay in cots that were lined up along the wall.  They had long since stopped crying because there wasn’t the people to give extra time to them.  They were fed and given shelter but were given no extra attention.

Brendan picked up one little girl and nursed her. Half of her nose was missing.  It had been eaten by a rat when she was left abandoned.  This little girl was blessed.  She was going to be adopted by an American family.

I take comfort from God’s word which says,
““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 ‭18:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬
If there weren’t human beings to minister to these children, the Angels would help.

I have felt perplexed and dispairing when I hear of such stories.   I chose to be open to have children and give them the necessary care as far as I was able.  A little child starts out in life trusting those around him.  When he cries he calls for food and comfort for his discomfort.  If the child has parents they will see to his needs.

There are not many orphanages in Western countries today.  Contraception is accepted to control how many children a couple have.  Immorality has increased.  If anyone has an unwanted pregnancy, abortion is available.  A test is offered to mothers to see if their baby has any abnormalities.  If the baby is found to have an abnormality an abortion is offered.  I do not agree with the world’s idea to solve the problem of unwanted children.

I have travelled in India.  On the back of lorries and on bill boards I read the caption,
“One plus one equals one.”
This idea has caught the imagination of the people in India.  Their thinking is to have one or at the most two children.

I believe in Jesus, and as I read in God’s word on page two of Genesis, it says,
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:27-28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I choose to believe that it is God’s will for a couple to be open to have children.  A child is a blessing from God, the fruit of the womb a reward.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭127:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

My husband and I chose to be open to have children.   We have reared fourteen.  God has been faithful to help us to this day in our work of looking after our flock which has increased to eight wives and husbands and nineteen grandchildren.
I wish that people would choose to believe in Jesus.  He is the answer to people’s distresses and the need for children to be born and cared for.

Jesus took a little child and taught his disciples, grown men, a lesson.  He said,
“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. “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:3-6‬ ‭NIV

If one receives a child he is receiving Jesus and Jesus will help.  I believe.

Washing Dishes

Brendan and I are visiting with our son Aaron and family.  Marta, our daughter in law has just had a new baby boy!  A new baby causes a big adjustment in any family.  Mum isn’t just as available as before to see to the other children or see to her housework.  She is busy feeding her baby and coping with the after shock of giving birth.  All the change in the family helps the other children grow up.  Another step to maturity.  Help is needed to wash clothes, dishes, shopping and cooking.  Aaron and Marta will get through this phase.  We can encourage them because we have survived child rearing to tell the tale.

Another fulfillment of the promise from Psalm 128 v 6,  “You shall see your children’s children.”

To help after dinner Brendan and I washed the dishes.  This brought back memories of the small kitchen in our first home.  There was no room for two people to stand at the sink.  The kitchen was the coldest part of the house.  I didn’t want to stay there too long after dinner.  No making wishes over dishes in the sink!

image

Brendan did some improvement to shelves and cupboards.  Dishwashers were not common in any household then.  My wish over dishes was to have a dishwasher.  I bought a second hand machine for fifty pounds!  It was a good buy at the time.  The children cheered.  No more standing in the cold kitchen washing dishes by hand.

We have always lived in older houses.  The kitchen always needed updated in each one.  Modern houses come with inbuilt washing machines, cookers, sinks and work tops.  The big bedrooms and big living rooms in the older houses compensated for the small kitchens. The dishwasher has continued to be an important item in my kitchen. It serves a great  purpose for any housewife.

In Memory of Nannie

I read in the local paper that Catholic missionaries are visiting each home in the parish over the next three weeks.  Attendance at Church each Sunday is dwindling.  It is twenty years since the last mission.

I remember there being a mission in our parish every few years when I was growing up.  People were encouraged in their faith by the visiting speakers.  It was an opportunity to renew one’s faith in God.

My daughter had a remembrance dinner for her Nannie, my husband’s late mother, recently.  She died two years ago around this time at the ripe age of ninety four.  Shann was telling me that Nannie, who was a widow and her sons had left home, kept a missionary every time there was a mission in her parish in Lurgan.  I never knew this about Nannie.

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Next week Brendan and I are going on a mission to Slovakia.  Brendan has travelled to many nations.  She now has missionaries in her own family.  Who knows what blessing has come to her family because of her hospitality to the man of God.  She received her reward on the earth and in heaven.

I am reminded of the story of the widow from Zarephath who let Elijah the prophet stay with her when there was a famine in the land.  She was going to make her last meal when Elijah passed by.  He asked her to give him water and food and she did.  He said to her,

“For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’ ”
She went away and did as Elijah had told her.
So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.
For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.”  1 Kings 17 v 14 – 16.

Later the widow’s son died.  Elijah brought him back to life.  So Elijah worked two miracles for the widow because she let him stay with her.

Nannie was very generous with her widow’s pension.  Her source of provision never ran out.  Money seemed to turn up for her.  There was always a welcome in her home for the poor person.  Nannie would admit herself she was not perfect.  But she believed in what The Word of God says, ” pure religion is to look after the widow and the poor.”

When we would visit she always wanted us to pray for her before we left.  She had an overcoming spirit even though she had many sorrows in her life.  She was widowed since she was thirty years old.   She always sent our children money to help them at university.  She gave money to Brendan when he travelled.  Only God knows her sacrifices.  Our children are blessed because of their Nannie.

“but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

She is with the great cloud of witnesses looking on.

The Arctic Terns Have Arrived.

I drove out this morning to town.  I parked my car along the sea front and walked on the sunny side of the street.  It was too chilly on the shaded side.  Resident gulls and Brent geese on the waters below were enjoying the warmth of the early sun too.

The winter slumber of people and nature has been awakened by the warm sun and noisy gulls eager to prepare for new life.

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The population of gulls along the shore has increased dramatically this week.  Artic terns have arrived at their usual nesting place on an island near Strangford harbor.  They are safe from intruders across a short stretch of water, but near enough for the onlooker to enjoy their activities.  They gather in the evening, bodies white against the black, sea washed rock.

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Another attraction for many black headed gulls this morning was the presence of a farmer ploughing up a field nearby.  It is seed time.  He is busy getting the land ready.  I was reminded of the poem I Will Go With My Father A ploughing, by Joseph Campbell.

I will go with my father a-ploughing
To the green field by the sea,
And the rooks and the crows and the seagull
Will come flocking after me.
I will sing to the patient horses
With the lark in the while of the air,
And my father will sing the plough-song
That blesses the cleaving share.

Instead of horses the farmer today is using a big tractor pulling a large wide machine which grinds up the soil.  Hundreds of gulls follow the fresh upturned soil.  They dive for tasty morsels of worms and insects destrubed by the machinery.  Rooks and crows live nearby in the forest.  They join in the foray, just as the poem says.  Joseph Campbell was born in Co Down.  Perhaps his father ploughed in the green fields by the sea near where I live.

Look at the birds of the air,  they don’t sow nor reap yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Matthew 6 v 26
I saw our Heavenly Father at work today feeding the gulls.

Worry, Stress and Anxiety Cause Disease

My husband and I have just returned from Iceland.
We stayed in Rekjavik, the main city.  Fresh snow was covering the houses and mountains that enclose the harbour.  It looked like a winter wonderland.

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Many tourists are attracted to Iceland to experience it’s many features of fire, ice and water.

There is an active volcano, many glaciers, hot springs and geysers.  A notice at the airport says “We don’t have coal we have fire.”  Hot water from under the earth is piped to heat their homes.

Some years ago Iceland went into recession. We were speaking to a lady about how the recession affected her. He lost two businesses and was in risk of losing her beautiful, big home. She shares her home with needy people. We visited with her. People appeared from different rooms as the night passed. She has a heart for the poor.

She has come through many crises. She told us she brings her bills to Jesus, and asks him to help her pay them. She continues to manage to pay them. Her house has not been repossessed.

She shared a dream with us. God spoke to her in the dream that her house would not be repossessed. To help her believe a voice said “When you go fishing you will see a rainbow, whales and abundance of fish.”  The Rainbow speakers of God’s promises.

She goes fishing often to take her mind off her troubles and get some food to eat into the bargain. The next time she went fishing she saw a rainbow, whales and fish. This dream continues to encourage her. God spoke to her and reassured he will provide for her.

I was reading this scripture this evening.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭11‬:‭28-30‬ NLT)

We were praying for some people recently for healing.  Most of them wanted prayer to be healed from diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney failure.

Diabetes is a condition where the body does not produce enough insulin.  The pancreas is an organ in the body which produces digestive juices and insulin. These aid the digestion of food in the stomach.  I believe when one gets stressed the pancreas’ ability to produce the necessary secretions is compromised.  The result can be an upset stomach or pain around the stomach, where the pancreas is.  

When one gets anxious, worried or stressed one often feels their stomach churn.  Before an exam I used to feel nervous in my stomach.  One may be devastated at losing a job or a relative dying.  Can I pay my bills at the end of the month?  One may lose their home.  Often parents worry about their children.  I know I did.  One gets overburdened.  Anxiety and stress result.  If a person continues in a stressful situation for a long term diabetes and high blood pressure may manifest.  These conditions put pressure on the kidneys, which get overworked, leading to their breakdown.

Jesus has a solution to this condition.  He said “Come to me.”  An invitation to help.  He will take our cares and worries.  He will relieve the burdens.  He will make a way out of any difficult situation, relieve the stress and the resulting sickness one is experiencing.  He may even speak in a dream to encourage your faith.

The friend we met in Iceland did as Jesus advised.  She is believing she will not lose her home and is bringing all her burdens to him.