Sixteen Graduations in One Family

Brendan and I set off for Scotland from Belfast City Airport on Thurday. We arrived on good time for our Flybe flight. I was looking forward to spending the afternoon with our son who was picking us up from the Glasgow airport.

We checked our flight on the screen. It was rescheduled for a hour later. That was fine. We relaxed in the lounge. Our flight was called but we were told to wait in the lounge. Time passed. We missed our flight! A big shock! Brendan comforted me but I was shaken. An attendant arranged for us to get the next flight at six thirty without any further expense. That eased the pain. We missed seeing our son. More waiting.

Today, Friday, 7/7/17, our daughter Angela graduated from Edinburgh university. We were with her to see her receive her award along with over a hundred other students. It was a colourful and jubilant occasion.

Angela is the last of our fourteen children. All sixteen of us have received a degree from university. It is forty five years since I graduated from university. Today’s celebration was worth the waiting.

I have lived to see all my children graduate after having cancer in 2010. God is good. He is faithful to keep his promise that he will bless my children. Exodus 20. Brendan was at each birth of our children and at each graduation. That must be a record. He is a great husband, dad and grand dad.

God and his angels rejoice when we were born on the earth. God and his angels are rejoicing over us today.

When God gives a promise nothing can stop it coming about. Our own mistakes, difficulties, even missing a flight will not stop what God plans to bring about.

Give Thanks

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who struck down mighty kings. His faithful love endures forever.
He killed powerful kings— His faithful love endures forever.
He remembered us in our weakness. His faithful love endures forever.
He saved us from our enemies. His faithful love endures forever.
He gives food to every living creature. His love endures forever.
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭136:1, 17-18, 23-24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In front of my window this morning blackbirds, a pigeon, wag tails, starlings, a chaffinch and robins feed. The God, who created the heaven and the earth cares for them.
It is a privilege to be alive to see the life around me. It is good to be still and take rest in the peace. I heard a pastor say that nature is a bible for us to see with our eyes. The heavens declare the glory of the risen Lord.

I remember back to many times in my life when I was feeling weak and helpless. I was doing my work looking after my husband, family and home. At times I felt overwhelmed. Our unseen enemies put pressure on us.

There were enemies in Israel called the Amelikites. God hated them because they picked off the weak ones among the Israelites. The elderly and the young are the most vulnerable. If they attacked the people the elderly and the young die first. They will not survive in war.

When Moses travelled through the desert he went at the pace of the people who were with young. He protected them. When Jacob was returning to see his father Isaac he went at the pace of the women and children.

The Amalekites are a symbol of spiritual enemies in our lives that are out to attack us when we are weak, to rob, destroy and kill. I believe a father and mother are so important to protect our young from the unseen spirits. Only with Jesus help can we overcome.

“He remembered our utter weakness. He saved us from our enemies.”

I can testify as we reared our children God covered our backs from our enemies who wanted to snare us.

It has been said that it takes a whole community to rear a child. In the past in Ireland neighbors and extended family looked out for one another. If a parent was under pressure a granny or relative would look after the children for a day to give respite.

Now families are independent and nuclear. One may think, “Oh I’m okay I won’t need anyone’s help.” The pressure comes when children are sick, the husband looses his job or other unforeseen difficulties. We need others.

I enjoy nature programmes. I have watched how wildebeest, zebra and caribou migrate in search of food and to have their young. When they come to the green pastures there are hungry enemies waiting who haven’t had food for days. A crocodile lies in wait under the water to gobble up some weak calf or sick animal who cannot get across the river and is cut off from the herd. Scrawny wolves lick their jaws when they see a meal coming their way. They hunt in packs and pick off the weak, sick, lame, old and young of the herd that have fallen behind. Lions hunt down the wildebeest that begin to stampede. The young and old can’t keep up with the rest so become easy prey for the lions who outrun them. There is safety in staying with the group.

Where our family lived was important. Our homes were always near schools, doctors, dentists, shops, hairdresser, bus stop, friends and recreation areas. There was a hospital, library and swimming pool in each town where we lived. The teachers knew our children as they passed up through the schools. They were kind to them. School friends were important. My eldest daughter still meets regularly with friends she met at school. Football coaches were supportive and looked out for my boys attending soccer, rugby or Gaelic. The clinic was nearby for care from the doctor when I was pregnant. I could walk to the supermarket from each place I lived. We felt safe in the places where we lived.

God brought us to green pastures and protected us from our enemies.

The Good Weather

I notice postings on Facebook from family and friends is slow recently. Is it because the good weather back home in Northern Ireland has enticed folk to enjoy activities outdoors?
The warmth of the sun is comforting all of creation. It brings life after the cold and darkness of the winter season. It is freely given.

The Lord’s face is likened to the sun. In Numbers Aaron and his sons were to command a blessing on the people of Israel.

““ ‘ “The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
The LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ’”
‭‭Numbers‬ ‭6:24-26‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
Then we will not turn away from you;
revive us, and we will call on your name.
Restore us, LORD God Almighty;
make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭80:17-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God knows our frame. He knows we are but dust. If he takes our breathe away we would die. We need to see his goodness in the land of the living. God will not fail those who look to him for bread. This scripture has been a great comfort and brought me hope in the past when I was busy or feeling discouraged.

“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭27:13-14‬ ‭KJV‬‬

God is good. He is faithful. He has compassion on all he has made.

A Walk in The Woods

The final days of winter have passed.  The time for the singing of birds has come. Often our lives feel as if it is winter all the time. In Narnia, the writer C S Lewis gives the image of all creation living under the spell of  the wicked witch. Every life form was frozen. But Aslan the lion, who is a symbol of Christ, comes and breaks the spell of the winter of a hundred years and all life begins to warm up and live again.

Just as in CS Lewis’ book Narnia we can be trapped by forces over which we have no control, being under the spell of darkness and coldness, or things not working out in our lives. We have free will to make choices and live as we wish. But sometimes life does not work out the way we had planned.

If anyone feels like this Jesus gives us his promise. “I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you.” John 14 v 18. This is a wonderful promise. He will not leave us in the winter of our lives, which happens to us because of circumstances which are beyond our control. There is an evil power that casts a spell on our lives. It is the devil. He has been ruling over the world since Adam and Eve were put out of the garden. But Christ appeared to destroy the works of the devil.

While Jesus was on earth he went about healing the sick and casting out demons that kept the people bound. One woman believed that if she touched the hem of his garment she would be healed.
“And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: Matthew 9 v 20
A man crippled from birth was healed and took up his mat on which he was sleeping and walked. “And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.” John 5 v 5.
Another man who was blind from birth was healed so God was glorified. John 9 v 1.
In these three situations mentioned, the individuals had their condition for a long time, one twelve years, one thirty eight years and the other from birth. Jesus healed them all.

If one is in a situation for a long time when there seems no change, I assure you Jesus will come to you and set you free. There is hope. Spring will come in your life. The singing of birds will come as The Song of Solomon says.
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone, The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; Song of Solomon 2 v 11.

Brendan and I went for a walk in the woods near our home two weeks ago. The morning sunlight streamed though the trees. Ferns were opening their arms in the warm rays of light. Streams of blue bells flowed down the banks. Doves cooed in the branches. A single bumble bee busyed himself visiting the open blossoms. He had so much work to do, flitting from flower to flower collecting pollen. Three different kinds of butterfly were enjoying the still, warm air. Bird song rejoiced. We were walking in a garden the Lord tended.

The season has changed. The sun is shining. Life is returning to the forest after the final days of winter.

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

Doubt in God

Many people doubt that God exists.
Some people seem to think that God is dead. They think God isn’t watching us. He has closed his eyes and won’t even see what we do. These are some words of Psalm 10
But God is alive. He is the God who made the heavens and the earth. He revealed himself to Abrahan, Isaac and Jacob. His son Jesus came on earth to destroy the works of the devil. He forgave people their sins, delivered and healed all who were sick. He told his disciples go go and do likewise in Mark 16.
“And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.
These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.””
‭‭Mark‬ ‭16:15, 17-18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God’s glory is seen in his creation. He is Almighty God. He is alive to help anyone who calls to him.
I believe in God and his son Jesus. I pray for the sick as Jesus said.
I want to tell you some recent news of healings that were done through the name of Jesus.
Last year when Brendan and I were in Israel I gave a lady, called Jackie, my book Staying Alive. She read it and started praying for her cousin in South Africa who had fourth stage breast cancer. She sent her my book. This year I hear from Jackie that her cousin is healed of cancer. Praise God.
One of my daughters is a sister in charge of a unit for expecting mothers who want to have a natural birth. Mid wives deliver their babies. It gives the women the choice how to have their children. They can go to the main hospital where they can get an epidural to ease pain or have a Caesarean section where the doctor operates to deliver the baby. In the midwifery led unit the midwife encourages the mother through her labor until the final push when the mother is fully aware of the delivery of her baby. She will experience pain but the joy of having new life soon makes her forget about all her pain.
My daughter was on night duty some time ago. She helped a mother deliver her baby naturally. Everything went well during the birth but the infant did not breathe after it was born.
My daughter gave the baby mouth to mouth resuscitation and continued working with the baby as the ambulance took the baby to the main hospital. She would have been praying quietly for the baby. When my daughter handed the baby over to the doctor in the hospital he did not give the baby much chance of survival. The baby was not able to breathe on his own. Hannah had to return to speak to the mother and comfort her.
I happened to call my daughter that evening. She was crying. She was sad about the situation with the new born baby. I prayed with her and we agreed in prayer that the child would live and return home with his parents in Jesus name. I bound the spirit of death and prayed that Jesus would touch the baby and give him life. Another daughter had prayed for the situation as well. Three days later the hospital got in touch with Hannah to tell her the baby was doing well and would get home soon. Alleluia.
Last Sunday she was helping in another delivery when the doctor did not expect the baby to live after a difficult delivery. Hannah had to comfort the mother and other mid wives who were involved. The baby was taken to another unit to be looked after. Hannah came home to visit with us that afternoon. She was upset again. I said lets pray again. God helped the other baby, he can help this baby too. We prayed.
The report came back the baby recovered and got home. This time Hannah told her colleagues that her mum prayed for both the children who survived. They have seen the power of prayer. Jesus said “Let the little children come to me.”
So I don’t doubt there is an all power full God. I believe in Jesus.

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

Craft Work is Creative

imageI am at a Craft Fair today in Belfast, the first of the New Year. All the preparation and activities of Christmas are over and I am emerging into the New Year like the daffodil shoots that are reaching up out of the soil. The freezing temperatures last night would have been trying for new growth and little birds alike. My car was covered in wonderful designs of crystal ice, including the door handle. Brendan kindly defrosted the car and loaded boxes and books while I had breakfast.

The birds were having breakfast as well. A Robin with his feathers puffed up was feeding on some seeds Brendan left out for it. We have a tree of ivy out the front. Blackbirds were diving into it, greedy for the last berries on the stems. I counted six birds. They needed more fuel than usual after the cold night.

I started making mosaics from sea glass I found on the beach eighteen months ago. Sea glass is worn down pieces of broken bottles and glass fashioned by years of tumbling and crashing in the waves, sand, water and rocks. I make something beautiful from disgarded,broken and misshapen pieces of glass.

Life treats us a bit like the waves of storms. We get tossed about, rejected, disgarded and worn down by difficulties, sickness and misfortune, till we are a shadow of our former selves. Then the Lord can pick us up and put us together again into a new creation, his creation. He breathes breathe into us and says “Live dry bones, Live.”

My mosaics are a symbol of restoration. I had cancer seven years ago. I should have died from my condition, but God had mercy on me and healed me completely. I am enjoying new life and strength. I was inspired to start my craft. God is the Creator. He created us in his image. He made us creative. As I start my work with the pieces and polyfilla I get creative ideas. I have made birds, angels, trees, Maps of Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, Zante, the World, Irish cottages, shamrock and hearts.

God not only healed me of cancer but he has restored me to good health to enjoy life and and activity.

Psalm 103 says
“Let all that I am praise the LORD; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭103:1, 3-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Psalm 23 He restores my soul.
God is restoring my soul through my craft work.

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

Overwhelming Like a Storm

imageI feel overwhelmed with the argument and debate about the nations on the media.

I usually turn on the local radio station when I come down for breakfast. It is company when I am on my own. I hear the latest news, interviews from local people and local weather reports.

Since President Trump was elected I am overwhelmed by the debate and argument about his decisions he is making for his country. I am tired listening to opinions about how Leaders should rule their countries.  When I open Facebook I get more information and videos to look at concerning Trump.  I am finding it difficult to lead my family of fourteen never mind a country.

Being in leadership is not easy. You can’t please everyone all the time.
My husband finds it very difficult when I don’t agree with him and when I resist his decision making. I was not honouring him and supporting him and trusting him. I thought I knew better. When my children resist me and don’t do as I ask them, which is often a doable request, I am not happy. Someone has to be accountable for a family, business, or government.

It is good to allow people to have their say but someone has to make decisions to get jobs done. If I don’t want to do operate with my husband and family then we descend into chaos. We don’t move forward.

I have learnt from the scripture and from experience that the husband is the leader of the family. In a dream I was shown that when I resisted my husband or undermined his authority I was rebelling.

I also had a dream showing me a dark giant figure ominously towering over me. I awake crying. I knew in my spirit that was a generational spirit of rebellion. When I had this dream I was dying of cancer! I was willing to pay attention to this revelation and take it seriously. I was not aware of what actually rebellion was before. I asked God to forgive my rebellion and deliver me from this power. I was delivered from this evil power and I know this helped my healing from cancer. I avoid argument since then. Hence I don’t enjoy debate and argument on the media.

When a judge sends a prisoner to jail no amount of protest from the prisoner will change the judge’s mind. He is taken off to prison in hand cuffs. The prisoner has to submit to authority or he will be in worse trouble. If I resist a police man, who represents the authority of the government, I will experience the full penalty for my behaviour. If I park on a double yellow line and I am fined, I have to pay up. I have to obey the law and those in authority.
I don’t turn on the radio any more. I don’t open news feed on Facebook.  I don’t  want to be overwhelmed.  It doesn’t help my well being or peace.  All the debates and disagreements only foster fear and hopelessness and more rebellion.

There has been a gale blowing these last few days. The sky was dark, the noise of the storm was unsettling making me feel even colder. It was more of an effort to keep warm. If I focused on the effects of the storm I could get depressed.

I awoke this morning to the sun shining in the window. It was a complete contrast to the previous evening.  Yesterday at this time the water from the Lough was crashing over the wall along the road. Today the water is calm and I hear the call of the Brent geese below. The storm has passed. Peace has returned.
I choose not to be overwhelmed.

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