Living the Faith like St Patrick

The sun shone warmly on Ireland this St Patrick’s Day.  The Parade, Festivities and the Christian Walk and Talk in The Cathedral in Downpatrick were a great success.  I opted for a  bus tour of Christian sites.  Other years when our children were young we would have watched the St Patrick Day parade.  Today was different.

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Our tour guide told us stories about St Patrick, we visited ruined churchs and holy wells.  I live in the middle of all this history.  St Patrick’s Day is the second most celebrated day after Christmas in the world.  Cities throughout the world light up in green.  People drink green beer.  If you are Irish you are celebrated and welcomed.

Which of the stories about St Patrick is true?  Tourists come to Ireland to visit these ancient ruins and read what the history books tell them.  I hope they are inspired to look to the God of St Patrick, Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life for everyone today.

The people who lived all those years ago among these walls are now dead.  Looking at the broken down stone walls made me fell a little depressed.  I thought of the story in Scripture when the women went to the tomb in which Jesus was buried.  An angel said He is not here, for he is risen.

I consoled myself with the truth that the God St Patrick believed in, I believe in today in 2016.  I can pray to the same God.  He is the same God, yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  He is the God who healed me from Cancer.  It is said St Patrick worked miracles.  God worked a miracle for me in 2010, fifteen hundred years later.  I celebrate six years Cancer free this Easter Monday.

It is said St Patrick cast snakes out of Ireland.  I believe the snakes are symbolic of demons.  Jesus said I give you authority to cast out devils.  Luke 9 v 1.  The believer in Jesus today is given the same authority.  Mark 16 v 17.  And these signs will follow those who believe, in my name they will drive out demons.

I no longer want to look at ruins.  I want to be a living stone, that the scripture speaks of in 1 Peter 2v5, You are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.  I want to use the authority Jesus gives me to drive out demons and heal the sick.  He delivered me from demons and healed me.  What God has done for me he can do for others today.

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I Asked My Husband to Help Me With the Dishwasher.

 

Some of my children have been home for Christmas festivities and rest.   The last child left yesterday to go back to St Andrew’s university via the French Alps.  He must be influenced by princes.  Prince Willliam went to St Andrews and skied in the Alps.

When my children lived at home, chores wereimage delegated to each child.  Someone was in charge of the dishwasher, to load it and unload it.  Now Brendan and I are on our own I ask him to help in the kitchen.  I started to unload the cups from the dishwasher yesterday morning.  I noticed thy felt gritty.  They were not properly washed!  I asked Brendan if he would have a look to see why the dishwasher was not functionally properly.

“Is there dishwasher salt?”
“No I don’t have any.”
“There’s bound to be some about.”
I didn’t answer, wondering where am I to find it among all the stuff we still have to sort after our recent house move.

I left Brendan to work away cleaning up the dishwasher.  He removed two arms that spray hot water over the dishes.  The holes in them were blocked, so were not working efficiently.  Brendan removed certain debris, rice, string, glass, a piece of plastic, and other food particles.

He put the parts together again and completed the task.  It took longer than I thought.

When I involve Brendan in the work he does a thorough job.

A husband and father has many skills we as wives and mothers don’t often draw upon.  Very often I do the job myself to save hastle, or my pride says I can do it better.
If the husband brings home the money to provide for the family, he and we may think he has done his job.

How come the children will listen to their father and not the mother?   How come we hide what the children are up to from their father in case dad will be too harsh with them?  A child will respect his father when he is disciplined and it brings peace to the mother.

How come men don’t worry too much?   A man has grace to look after his wife and children.  If I don’t ask for his help he does not get an opportunity to use the grace God has given him.  

How come God made man to have strong, broad shoulders?  It is to carry the responsibilities we as women were never intended to carry?

How come men go off to the pub,  the football match, golf, or find another woman?  Perhaps they see us doing such a good job on our own, going out to work, looking after the children, shopping, cleaning and disciplining  that they feel they are not needed.  They were never asked so they find some other outlet to occupy their time.

Children will follow our example.  If a child sees his father taking a caring role in his family there is more likelihood he will do the same for his family.  If a child sees that the mother takes the caring role, as the father absents himself then that is the model he will follow.

As a wife and mother, cook and carer I busied myself over the years.  I worried, got anxious and prayed.  I often did not ask my husband for help.  Pride and independence prevented me from asking for help.   We grow up in society that tells us we are a failure if you can’t do things yourself.  Independence is offered to us.  You don’t need others. Earn enough money to buy independence and kill yourself in the process and one is left old, lonely and bitter.

I have learnt through my experience of life, through pain and failure that God’s pattern for marriage is the best.   He has the blueprint.  I have learnt to relinquish control.

What do you want, women, for your husbands and children?   Relax, don’t do all the work, ask the husband to help and take his rightful role in the family.  Respect his position that God has given him.  Let him lead.  Let him look after you.  Ultimately God will hold him responsible for how he looked after his family.

Blowing the Whistle.

I have faith in God the creator who reveals himself through the bible.  As I read the scriptures I find many promises God makes to those who believe that he exists.  He promises to reward those who diligently seek him.  Perhaps you don’t believe in God, or maybe you used to believe but through disappointments and hardships you gave up.  Try again.  Pray today and seek him with your whole heart.  He is there for you and a wonderful life of blessing for you and your descendants will open up for you.

God, revealed through Jesus, is the only God who promises blessings to our descendants to a thousandth generation. Exodus 20.  When I sought God wholeheartedly 38 years ago he revealed himself to me in many ways.  I prayed for a child and he answered me.  I prayed for my husband to believe in Jesus.  God revealed himself to my husband.  God blessed me with fourteen children because I believed that God would bless my children after me to the thousandth generation.
There is no other God who promises to bless us and our children after us.

Now in rearing my big family I have faced many difficulties.  For example, needing a home big enough, needing money to provide for my family or facing the opinions of people who thought I was crazy for having a big family.
Jesus said in this world you will have many troubles but be of good cheer I have overcome the world.  John 16 v 33

Psalm God promises to be with us in trouble and deliver us out of all of them.

When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. (‭Psalms‬ ‭91‬:‭15‬ NLT)

In Numbers 10 God told Moses to instruct the people,

“When you arrive in your own land and go to war against your enemies who attack you, sound the alarm with the trumpets. Then the LORD your God will remember you and rescue you from your enemies.  The trumpets will remind your God of his covenant with you. I am the LORD your God.” (‭Numbers‬ ‭10‬:‭9-10‬ NLT)

I had been praying over some situation in my life for a long time.  I felt I had no energy to pray any more.  There did not seem to be an answer.  I read the passage above.  I did not have a trumpet but I bought myself a whistle.  I blew the whistle and I believed that God would act because he is true to his word.  I have made a covenant with him in believing and trusting God with my life, and he will keep his promise to be with me in trouble and deliver me out of it.  God brought about the needed change.   Sometimes one can blame others for the difficulty one is facing.  But it is the devil our enemy who is holding back the needed change.  God heard and moved my enemy the devil out of the way.

I was in holiday in Rostrevor, Ireland one summer.  We had been given the use of a home in a beautiful setting.  It was along a quiet road in the forest.  Many young couples would park their cars there at night to be alone.  One evening my husband went out with the older children to a music festival.  I was home with the younger children.  It was getting late and I thought I heard noises outside that made me feal uneasy.

I looked for my whistle.  I went outside and blew the whistle as loudly as I could.   I called on The Lord for help.  All at once five cars’ engines were started and sped off down the road as fast as they could.  They cleared off frightened by my whistle.

In England the policemen used to have a whistle to alarm trouble makers or to call for help.
Soon after my husband and family returned.  Help arrived.

Can’t Beat Home Made Bread

We took a break from unpacking, washing and cleaning.

The sun was shining and reflecting off the water in front of our new home in the country.  We don’t just have a pond at the bottom of our garden, we have Strangford Lough!  I decided to make some Irish wheaten bread which cooks beautifully in the Aga.  Brendan wanted to go for a walk.  I asked him to wait till the bread was cooked before we left.  A friend said he would go for a walk and leave the food in the oven but too often they were away longer than they intended and the food was burnt.  I didn’t imagewant that to happen.

Brendan and I went for a walk along the bay.  The water lapped against the sea weed covered rocks.  I forgot my binoculars to do some bird watching.  I didn’t need them today as some birds were close by, gulls, sandpipers and many more were feeding on the shore. We walked around a little peninsula which becomes an island when the tide is high.  We sat down in the sunshine had coffee from my flask and enjoyed the view, Bella Vista.

The Lord is my shepherd; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. (‭Psalms‬ ‭23‬:‭1-2‬ KJV)

When my children were young I always wanted to move to the country to live.  I thought they could work off a lot of energy playing in the open spaces, like I did as a child.  It was not practical to live in the country for my family.  Living near schools, shops, friends, health centre and dentists in the town was more suitable.  The children could attend after school activities and sports events without me taking them by car.  They could walk home.  We weighed up the benefits of living in the country or the town.  Living in the town suited our young family better.

I haven’t made bread for twenty years.  When the children were young I made a batch of wheaten loaves every week.  Our children loved the hot bread with butter and jam running over the sides.  It was very satisfying. Baking bread was gone for a season but not forgotten.

When I was in Canada recently my host, Maureen, relaxes on the week end and makes a wheaten cake of bread for her family.  Her mum, who was from Belfast, taught her how to make it.  She keeps an Irish tradition going.  Perhaps she inspired me to get going again making bread.

I remember my mother made griddle soda bread for us.  It is made with flour, baking soda and buttermilk mixed together.  The dough was turned out onto a floured baking board, shaped into a circle an inch deep and cut into four parts.  The dough was placed on a hot griddle on top of the cooker.  When one side was cooked it was turned over to finish it off on the other side.  The smell of the cooking bread brings memories of provision, warmth and comfort.  If I was about when the bread was ready I loved to have a piece with butter melting on the fresh slice.   Homemade soda was fat free, nutritious and inexpensive.  Those were the days before supermarkets and mass produced food.

My first loaf of wheaten bread on my new Aga turned out tasty.   Brendan enjoyed it for lunch after our walk.  The smell of the freshly baked bread filled the room.  We will have daily bread from now on.

Jesus told us to pray, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭9-11‬ KJV)

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Hello Morning Glory

The full moon is on my left high in the sky.
An aeroplane flies south just in front of the moon.
It is lit up by the light of the sun reflecting off its fuselage.
The sun is rising to my right.
The sky is changing from water colours of pink and purple to pale blue.
It will get brighter and warmer minute by minute and light up my kitchen.
Swallows twitter, swirl and rest on the telephone wires, gathering for their exit to warmer countries of the south.
I hear a croaky crow.  He is scavenging for breakfast.

Like the song “All God’s creatures got a place in the choir.
Some sing low and some sing higher.
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire.”

A solitary robin tweets.  I look out and he is sitting on the fence.
He will stay close all winter.  He will stick it out in the Irish weather, sun, wind or cold.
The robin was my mother in law’s favourite bird.
It visited her narrow back yard.
It brought delight to her in her latter years when she was confined to her home.
She passed away last week at the age of ninety four.
The shadows of the trees and house get shorimageter and darker as the sun rises.

 

A dozen sheep form a line as they walk down to the meadow opposite to graze in the warmth of the rising sun.
Their thirst will be quenched from the dew on the grass.
Some of my roses have responded to the September warmth and sunshine.
The red and yellow blossoms surprise me.
“Action”.
No it is not a film studio.
It is what I see and hear as I look out from my desk this morning.
The Lord is the director of this show.

This  scripture is very true.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. (‭Psalm‬ ‭19‬:‭1, 4-6‬ NIV)
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Hovering around him were seraphim, each with six wings.
In a great chorus they sang “Holy, holy, holy is The Lord Almighty! The whole earth is filled with his glory. The glorious singing shook the Temple. Isaiah 6 v 2

May the Sun of Righteousness rise with healing for you today.  Malachi.

God is a Parent

There is nursery rhyme that goes.

There was an old woman she lived in shoe,
She had so many children she did not know what to do.
She gave them some broth without any bread
and whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

A gal has got to do what a gal has to do!

When I am at my wits end and don’t know what to do with my children I laugh when I remember this nursery rhyme.
That is how it is sometimes.
That was fine when the children were young.
How does one cope when one’s son or daughter chooses to follow the prodigal route?
I get encouraged when I read God’s word.
God is a parent too. In Isaiah 1 it says

Hear Oh heavens, Listen Oh earth!  This is what The Lord says.
“The children I raised and cared for have turned against me.
Even the animals, the donkey and ox know their owner and appreciate his care, but not my people Israel.”

Israel were God’s children.  He chose them and worked miracles to save them in the desert and helped them cross the Red Sea.  He brought them into the Promised Land.  But the more he blessed them the more they turned away.
Aren’t we all like that to our parents?
As I find myself a parent, distressed, I find comfort because God understands.
He has pain too when his children go astray and disobey.
God likened himself to a mother hen.
Like the hen he longs to protect his children from danger and keep them safe close to him, warm and comforted under his wing.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. (‭Matthew‬ ‭23‬:‭37‬ NIV), Jesus said.

Israel had many feast days and sacrifices they carried out, but God was not interested in them.  He stopped listening to their prayers.  He wanted them to
Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭1‬:‭17‬ NIV)

God wants us to come to him.
If we have turned away he wants us to return.

Isaiah 1 v 19 says
“If you would only obey and let me help you.  Then you will have plenty to eat.  But if you keep turning away and refusing to listen you will be destroyed by your enemies.”

He wants us to listen to him.
How can one listen to God today.
Stop everything, turn off all noise.
Be still and know I am God.
Some people dread the thought of having silence or the idea God can speak to them.
They are frightened he is going to ask them to do something they don’t want to do.
If you don’t want to change then you may not be ready to be alone with God.
God is not up in the sky where we can’t find him.
Or at the other end of the world.
He is near in your heart. Stop and listen.
You will start out on a journey you will never regret.

 

I Agree With The Statement “No Pain, No Gain.”

I agree with the statement “No pain no gain.”
Human beings are born with the desire to find out about the world around them.
A child is born to be inquisitive.
He comes from the womb crying, wanting to live.
From an early age children are adventurous.  
They want to climb trees as mum watches with her heart in her mouth.
He wants to reach his arms out.
Mum underestimates the reach of little Jimmy.
She leaves him in the cot in the hotel bedroom adjoining hers, puts the telephone well out of the way and leaves him to sleep.
The hotel receptionist knocks on the door the next morning and asks “Did anyone dial 999.  The police have called and said they got a call from this building and a child’s voice was heard in the back ground.”  
Big shock for Jimmy’s mum.  He had reached over to the telephone and had pressed some numbers.  
Hey presto, police and childline are notified.  
This happened this weekend at a weekend Gathering.
Teenagers want to drive fast cars not knowing the dangers thereof.
A few road accidents trains them to be more careful.  A little pain helps him to drive safely.
Later on they want to read and find out more about the world around.
We will always be learning till we die if we don’t give up that desire.
God gives us dreams.  Each of needs to follow his dream.
We are given the dream in the first place to give us the passion to overcome difficulties to achieve  a dream
We need to follow our dreams.
But to get into our dreams one has to deny oneself the comforts of life.
For example the athelite has to train, exercise, get up early, eat the proper foods, get enough sleep.  He suffers pain in the training.
Staying up late, hanging out with friends, drinking, taking drugs, eating comfort foods does not need any self denial or pain.
So one does not gain any reward.
For a student to get the degree he has to deny himself to take time to study, and attend lectures.
He has left home and has to be self disciplined to cook his own foods to survive.
If no pain he will not achieve the reward of a degree.
A friend of mine has a son who trained to be an airforce pilot.  He always had a dream of becoming a pilot.
He had to go through rigorous training and plenty of pain through hours of flying, his plane being tumbled about in the air in a thunderstorm, and other trials to become a fully qualified rescue pilot. 
My daughter is a qualified surgeon.  She had a dream of becoming a doctor.  I did not realise the discipline that was needed to accomplish her goal.  She had to deny herself friendships, outings, having fun with friends to spend time studying to qualify as a doctor.  He has to work unsociable hours to do her work helping others.  No pain, no gain.
Why all the pain? Why bother?  
Jesus is our ultimate example of pain.
He was whipped on his back, pierced with thorns on his head, his side opened up, shed his blood, was crucified and died.
Why all that suffering?
Jesus, for the joy set before him endured the Cross.  
He looked forward to the joy of returning to heaven and making way for humankind to get to heaven.  He provided forgiveness of sin, healing of diseases and destroying the works of the devil to set humankind free.
He helped mankind.
If we want to help ourselves and our fellow man we need to follow Jesus’ example of being willing to suffer pain, to help others.
A father and mother suffer pain in raising children.  If there is no pain they do not have the joy or gain of seeing their children raised as responsible citizens.
Jesus said you must take up your cross and follow me.  He is our example. We are to deny ourselves.  Jesus gives us the strength to go through the pain because he is our example. No pain no gain.

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