A Thin Place in Ireland

Beni Johnson wife of Bill Johnson, head pastor of Bethel in Redding in the USA, has written a book on intercession. It is her story of how God led her to be an intercessor. She has taken many groups all over the USA and the world to pray.

I am very excited after reading this paragraph in her book.

“A thin place is where heaven and earth are close. It is easier to experience the spiritual realm in these places. A lot of times you can tell if you are in a thin place, because there are a lot of spiritual and creative people who are gathered there. Examples of this include many parts of Ireland, which is known for its thin places.”

An example of a thin place is at Bethel in Israel where Jacob had a dream and he saw angels ascending and descending to heaven. Here is the reference from Genesis.

“He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.
and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house.
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭28:12-13, 16-19, 22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In 2015 Brendan and I visited Israel. I had a desire to visit Bethel, the place where Jacob had a dream. It was not on the usual visitor’s sites in Israel. We had to get a local taxi driver to take us there. He brought us to a viewing point at Bethel where Abraham once stood and God showed him all the land before him and promised to give it to him.
Genesis 12 v 7.
7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

It was a privilege to stand on that viewing point, where Abraham once stood, and look out to the north, the south, the east and the west and see the land of Israel stretching before me. God’s promise to Abraham is being fulfilled today as God is bringing the people of Israel back to their homeland.

Quite near by was a small building. “There is where It is traditionally thought that Jacob had his dream,” the taxi man advised us. When we went over to the building we entered into a small room.  The picture included in this blog shows a view to the east from the landmark.  In the middle distance is the house where Jacob is said to have had a dream.   We prayed and remembered Jacob’s dream. Again I felt blessed to be where Jacob of old rested. We took some photographs. A picture of my husband revealed just his turso. His legs and arms did not show up in the picture. Something supernatural happened in that place. It is still a place where the Angels ascend and descend, I believe, a thin place.

I’m privileged to live on the Ards Peninsula in Ireland. The local council haves named it the Ceeative Peninsula.  All along the shores of Strangford Lough are the ruins of Christian settlements. Many people lived in the thriving communities living off the produce of the land and sea. Prayers and praise to God would have been offered in these places. They are Thin Places, I believe. Ireland is known as the Land of saints and scholars. Many missionaries have gone out from Ireland to other nations, and still do today. There is a book written telling How the Irish Saved Civilization, By Thomas Cahill.  We have a wonderful inheritance in Ireland, yet to be mined.


Dark January

I’m dreaming of Summer holidays

Yes, it’s not a deck chair

Yes, it’s not a Piñata Colada

Yes, the glow is not from the sun

I have to make do with

An armchair

The coal fire in the hearth

And a cup of hot coffee

To keep me warm

As the cold wind howls past my window

Making it seem colder than it is.


Faith for Provision

It was 1998. Brendan wanted to take me to India, my first trip with him to the nations. He had been to India many times and wanted to introduce me to his friends there. Brendan wanted to bless me for looking after our children and home, while he travelled. He was wondering if it was the right time to go.

We had just moved house from one end of Northern Ireland to the other with nine children. We were still settling into our new home and getting a feel of our surroundings. It would mean getting visas and booking flights, and believing God for the provision.

One evening our family were relaxing watching a nature programm on television. It was about wildlife in India. The Brahmaputra is a river that winds across north India. The lush grass along it’s banks supports some of the biggest animals in the world. Wild buffalo, elephant, rhino, tiger, deer and many other species co exist. The documentary showed a large family of otters chewing on fish. They lay on the bank of the river in the sun contented with bellies full. There is plenty of food and space for all the species. They are not jostling each other for space. There is an abundance of water and food.

He covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures. He gives food to the wild animals and feeds the young ravens when they cry. (‭Psalms‬ ‭147‬:‭3-5, 8-9‬ NLT)

At this time we were in transition. We had just moved from a town house with its restrictions for a large family to a broad place, a bungalow with large garden on the edge of town. We had taken a leap of faith. The documentary was an encouragement to me that as God provides for the wild beasts in Northern India will he not provide for me and my big family. We had more space in our new home, for our growing boys. There was plenty of room for them all.

I reassured my husband to go ahead and book the flights for India. I had faith that God would supply all our need according to his riches in Glory. His bank is not broke. Heaven is not running out of gold. The streets are paved with gold. He is looking after all peoples and nations. Is it difficult for him to look after our family? He provides even for the animals, will he not also provide for us.

The documentary encouraged our faith. Brendan needed further reassurance. He asked a friend to pray. He responded and said God gave him the word, Thomas. This was a word of knowledge, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Brendan researched about Thomas. He was one of the disciples of Jesus and it is thought he went to India.

The Holy Spirit confirmed I should go to India. Brendan went ahead and planned the trip to India. Friends looked after our children while we were away. God looked after all who were away and all at home.

Daughters in law.

One of today’s reading at Church was from Proverbs 31.

“A perfect wife who can find her? She is far beyond the price of pearls. Advantage and not hurt she brings him all the days of her life.”

One is sure to wonder who one’s son will marry. In India it is the tradition to have arranged marriages for sons.  The mother of the son gets to arrange a suitable wife. I’m thankful we don’t have that tradition here and I’m sure my sons are thankful too. I was reassured and comforted by a the scripture that says I will give your sons understanding wives.

Fathers can give their sons an inheritance of houses and wealth, but only the Lord can give an understanding wife. Proverbs 19 v 14

This word doesn’t say what religion she will be, what nationality she will be, what family she comes from,  if she is a good cook, or what kind of a job she has.  There are no conditions, only that she is an understanding wife, chosen by God.

Five of my eight sons are married. Tamara is from Italy, Marta from Slovakia, Rachel from Ireland, Morven from Scotland and Simone from Canada. My boys moved beyond the parish. These are the days that Daniel spoke about. Knowledge and travel will increase. My children have got to avail of both. Thanks to Ryanair and Airtransit they have flown to Europe and Canada to find wives.

I came across these two photos on my phone today. I am encouraged that’s these ladies are enjoying wearing necklaces I made. They inspired me to write this blog.

It was my daughter in law, Simone’s birthday this week. Isaac and his family live in Canada. When Hannah visited them recently she gave Simone a necklace that I made. She was delighted with it. A little bit of Ireland.

Morven, who is married to Patrick lives in Scotland.  I’m happy too she  is  wearing the green sea glass necklace I made.

I’m thankful for all my daughters in law that God has chosen for my sons.  They are under the shadow of the Lord’s wings and are covered by the Blood of Jesus.  They are and will be the mothers of some of our grandchildren.

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.

A Place of Abundance

My son Abraham pumped up the tyres on my bicycle today. The firm tyres seemed to improve my progress cycling along the path. I didn’t have as many aches and pains this morning. My body must be adjusting to my new regime. I was able to cycle further too.

“The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.
This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones:
I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.”
‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭37:1-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬Y

Breath entered my bicycle and it was working better! I will remain ember Abraham as I go for a cycle. He leaves today to take up a job in London after finishing university this year. He leaves the nest today.

Sparrows came to my attention today as I was out on my bike ride.
There was an abundance of them. They flourish here because food is readily available. There are plenty of safe nesting and roosting sites nearby in the hedgerows and trees. A flock of birds flew up from the seaweed along the shore. Little grubs, beetles and insects break down the seaweed. The sparrows have easy nutrious pickings.

If they fancy a change the hedgerows are full of haws, blackberries and honeysuckle fruit. Nearby barley has been harvested by the farmer. There should be plenty of seeds left behind after the reaping. All this provision should see the birds through the winter months.

Seeing the sparrows reminded me of Psalm 84,
“Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭84:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This scripture was a great encouragement to me when I was praying for a new home. God knew where it would be best and safe for Brendan and I to live to rear our young. There was always the provision of friends, shops and schools in the towns we ended up residing. As I reflect I see God’s leading in every house move. He brought us to a place of abundance. Just like the sparrows today. They are flourishing in a place of abundance.

Jesus used the illustration of a sparrow because it is the most widely distributed wild bird and it lives close to human habitations.  Wherever I travel in the world I always see sparrows.  Jesus said he knows when a sparrow falls to the ground.  We are more important than the sparrow.  We can be assured of Jesus care for us, just as he cares for the sparrow.  If we fall or are downcast he knows and comes to our aid.

A Walk in the Wicklow Hills.

Last weekend, Brendan and I were visiting my daughter, husband and family in Wicklow. They were glad to see us. She had a welcome meal ready for us after a long journey. The children were reminiscing with their grandad and remembering the video he made showing them dive off the pier. They are already looking forward to next year’s summer camp at Granddad’s house.

Shann was sorting out school clothes and putting away items the children had grown out of. The cuffs of the girls’ school jumpers were a bit frayed. A few stitches will repair them. Thread and needle were searched out and granny used her skills to make all things new.

The washing machine churned out sheets, socks, jumpers and tights. Clothes were brought in from the washing line and left in a pile on the kitchen table to be sorted later. More clothes were hung out to dry. I watched my daughter doing her washing from the comfort of the cosy chair Shann had purchased for me. I remembered back to when my children were young. The end of holidays was a frenzied time getting everyone one ready for school again.

Shann coaxed Brendan and I to go for a walk. They live in a beautiful area in the hills of Wicklow. I had to leave my cosy chair. I enjoyed the stunning views and the banter with the children. Two of the children brought their bicycles with them. They are like me, not too keen on walking.

We rested at the end of the lane. Wild fushia and heather were in bloom. Bees were buzzing collecting pollen. Trees that were planted by the forestry a few years back are now growing tall, replacing the trees that had been harvested. A new generation of trees.

Our grandchildren are now growing tall. I’m not quite ready to be chopped down. I asked my Maggie, my granddaughter who had her bicycle if I could borrow it to save my legs on the journey back to the house. She agreed. I sailed down the brae but gave it back when I came to a steep incline.

I joined the others to walk the last part of the lane. After a while we noticed Maggie had gone on ahead and she hadn’t waited for us. There was an inviting part of the lane up ahead. It was just perfect for me to sale down. But Maggie and her bicycle were nowhere to be found.
She must have been frightened that granny may have been too heavy for her precious bicycle.

When I returned home North I resolved to do some exercise to get these dry bones working again. I got out my own bicycle. Despite the pain and aches I will overcome and get fit. As I said I’m not ready to be chopped down or sit in the corner doing needle work. I have a lot of living to do yet. I am staying alive to proclaim the works of the Lord and to see more of my children’s children.

“Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬