The Brent Geese have Left.

In the last week the Brent Geese have left for Canada. Isn’t it amazing the timing in nature. These birds have been migrating since creation. How marvellous our creator is.

“Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply. Let the fish fill the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.” And evening passed and morning came, marking the fifth day.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:20-23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Many centuries ago before man has cultivated the land people living along the shores of Strangford Lough would have welcomed the arrival of the geese.  Perhaps there could have been a source of food. There are many historical Christian settlements along the Lough, Greyabbey, Nendrum and Movilla.
Nowadays the Brent geese are protected.

When the Brent arrive on the Strangford Lough shores in September, they look like ducks. They have flown across the Atlantic from Northern Canada, a journey of two thousand miles. They spend the next eight months in Ireland. They feed on eel grass, which grows on the intertidal shore especially where fresh water meets the salt water of the sea. There are two such areas on the shore near where I live. I am privileged to watch the birds close up.

For the last month groups of geese gather near my home to feed. I can hear their guttural calling when they arrive. They are fattening up for their flight across the ocean. They now look like geese. They waddle from where they are feeding to the shore and float away when they are disturbed. They conserve energy at this stage only flying off when in danger. They can be approached up close to get a picture. When they do take flight they travel very fast just above the level of the water and disappear into the distance.

The name Brent means charcoal in Norse. Their feather colours are dark on the neck and wings. Their wing tips and underbelly are white. When the sun shines the light highlights the white feathers, making the birds look regal with the black and white contrast.

I thought the same geese return in the spring. The Irish Brent Research Group tells me the parents remain with the young for fifteen months before the fledglings are strong to make the long journey to feeding grounds along the shores of Ireland. They stay home with their young. This reminds me that even the birds follow the truth in the scripture,
“He gently leads those who are with young.” Isaiah 40 v 11.

“The migrating geese leaving en mass signify a powerful force in nature.” quote from Naomi Hart, artist. They know when the time is right. Perhaps there is a strong wind blowing that helps their journey north. The desire to leave and return are part of the bird’s life cycle. I am learning from the birds.

“Look at the birds of the air, for they don’t sow, neither do thy reap.”  Matthew 6 v 26.    I have learnt so much by looking at the birds.

When I travel to Toronto, Canada the flight from Dublin is seven hours. The journey home is only five hours. Why? There was a strong tail wind behind the plane helping it along. Similarly I believe the strong winds help the birds migrate.

Perhaps by looking at the birds St Brendan was inspired to make a boat to travel north into the Atlantic on a path of discovery. Swans and Geese head north into the horizon where the human naked eye can see no land. “But there must be some place out there for the birds to land,” he may have thought?

Brendan and I often go to far off nations around May and September.  Like the birds we know when it is time to fly.

Sea Gulls Batheing.

I was looking at the birds today. I was learning from them.  I parked beside the shore to rest.
On this December morning some gulls were having a happy time in the water. It was high tide.
It was beauty treatment time!
A flock of birds were dipping, diving, dashing, splashing, cleaning, dunking, plunging, stretching, swaying, playing, balancing, dancing and batheing.
One would rise up in the air and others would follow. They were free.
They circled overhead and came back to base.
There wasn’t a strong, cold wind with which to contend.
There were no angry waves dashing against the shore, just gentle ripples flowing.
The sun’s rays warmed them.
They were enjoying being together. They were being cared for by their Heavenly Father.

Jesus said,
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6

Why do we not learn from the birds particularly at this time of the year. There is too much worrying, shopping, spending, eating, drinking, stressing, rushing, driving and cooking.

Take time to rest. Enjoy your flock.

Storm Clouds and the Rainbow.

When storm clouds gather do not be afraid.  Often there will be a rainbow in the midst of the storm clouds.  Here is a picture of dark clouds coming in over Co Down in Northern Ireland.  The Mourne Mountains are in the distance.

image

It is holiday season in our country.  It is time when people have time off work.  Time to unwind, sleep, eat, take in the sun, get fresh air, spend time with family, catch up on household repairs, do gardening, see friends or take a holiday.

Down time is very important to have for our wellbeing.  All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.  We need this time to be restored, our batteries recharged.

In the waiting for time off many people may get exhausted or circumstances seem to be overwhelming, just like storm clouds gathering.

Before I left for a week’s holiday in Ireland I took this picture of a rainbow outside our home.  The rainbow is a sign from God to all mankind.

image

“And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come:

Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.
Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭9:12, 14-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

All mankind means all people of all nations.  This promise is not just for believers in God but for all men because God loves all unconditionally and wants all to know he cares.

If you are holding on to a promise from God, look at the rainbow.  It will encourage you.

Storm clouds will disappear.
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/storm/

A Sparrow Falls to the Ground.

When Brendan and I travelled with our family on holiday down through Ireland, we saw that there is plenty of space in the countryside, forests and bogland uninhabited.  When we fly over Canada we see wide open plains below with few towns.  As I travel through Slovakia I see open fields, valleys and plenty of forest lands.

Why do people say there is not enough room on the earth for people to live?   Why do people want to control the population of the world, saying there is not enough food?  Will not God look after mankind, whom he made in his image.

In these open places wild life abound.  No one sees this abundance of life except God.  We have the priveledge of admiring the wild life that turns up near to where we live.  The blackbirds in our garden, the fox that comes to steal the chicken, or the swallows or swans that fly overhead.  Where do they lay their head at night?

image

Jesus said,
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭8‬:‭20‬ NIV)
We only get a glimpse of the beauty of living creatures from nature programmes.

In Job the writer says,

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.

“Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep?

Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this.

Who gives the ibis wisdom or gives the rooster understanding?

“Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions

Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food? (‭Job‬ ‭38‬:‭4, 16, 18, 36, 39, 41‬ NIV)

“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?

Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds; they leave and do not return. “Who let the wild donkey go free? Who untied its ropes? I gave it the wasteland as its home, the salt flats as its habitat.

“Will the wild ox consent to serve you? Will it stay by your manger at night?

“The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, though they cannot compare with the wings and feathers of the stork. (‭Job‬ ‭39‬:‭1, 4-6, 9, 13‬ NIV)

We only see a small part of what God has created.  He cares for it all.

I saw this photograph today.  It reminded me of the verse when Jesus said,

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (‭Matthew‬ ‭10‬:‭28-29, 31‬) NIV.

God will look after you and provide for you.

Inspiration as I Look at The Moon

I awoke early.  I looked up in the sky.  There was a sliver of the moon shining brightly.  The dark arc shaped outline across the moon is the shadow of the earth.

“Have you not known? have you not heard? has it not been told you from the beginning? have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

It is he that sits upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretches  out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in:”  ( Isaiah 40 v 21 22 KJV)

In warmer countries people sit outdoors in the cool of the evening.  They would be aware of the changes in the moon each month.  The moon is visible to all nations all over the world.  Looking at creation has inspired scientists and writers to do their work.  They would have wondered why is there changes in the moon?

There was debate among Christian scientists in earlier centuries.  Some thought the earth was flat.  But this line in the bible “He sits on the circle of the earth” gives us a clue that the earth is round.  Columbus set sail on the sea.  If the earth was round he expected to come back to where he set off.

The moon is made up of material that reflects light.  The sun shining on the moon gives it light. The earth blocks some of this light when it is positioned between the sun and the moon.  This happens during each month.  We can see the arc of the edge of the earth on the moon another sign that the earth is a circle.

As I looked at the sky I began to worship God who created the sun, the moon and the stars when I remembered these scriptures.  This morning I can see part of the circle of the earth on the moon.

I was reading the story of Jonah this week.  He disobeyed God and got on a boat.
A storm hit the boat.  Here is what it says.

“Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship.
But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. So the captain went down after him. “How can you sleep at a time like this?” he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will pay attention to us and spare our lives.”
Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, the lots identified Jonah as the culprit.
“Why has this awful storm come down on us?” they demanded. “Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?”
Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.  Then he told them he was running away from The Lord..”   (‭Jonah‬ ‭1‬:‭5-9‬ NLT)

Jonah identified himself as one who worships the God of heaven.

I am so encouraged that people from many nations read my blog.  The moon that is shining on you, shines on me here in Ireland.  I encourage you to look up at the moon and watch the changes each month.  Look beyond the moon to The Lord who made the it.  He knows all about you.  You cannot hide from him like Jonah tried to do.
Call out to the God of heaven and his son Jesus and he will deliver you.

The Glory of God in Creation

imageI have been living in the country these last eight months.  I have the joy of seeing the clear night sky at times.  I can see the Milky Way, like a whisp of light across the sky.  The stars shine brightly, when there is no moon or clouds.  Last weekend the full moon rose in the east and circled high in the sky and set in the west in the morning.  It was very bright outside at night. The area where we live is called Bright.  I wonder why?

With the full moon comes high tides.  I went down to the local beach.  The water was still.  It rippled and lapped gently on the sand.  Another evening I could hear the roar of the sea as there was a strong wind blowing.  What a variety in nature all around me.  No day Is the same.   I am reading the bible of creation.

By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, and what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.  Hebrews 11 v 3

We went out for dinner with our daughter recently.  She drove along carefully as it was dark, raining and windy. We ran for cover into the restaurant.  Half and hour later I stepped outside to take a phone call.  It had stopped raining and there was no wind.  On the way home later there was a clear sky.   I was able to show my daughter the stars.  It is true what they say about Ireland, “Wait a while and the weather will change.”

I have seen a few rainbows recently.  There are dark clouds with rain in one part of the sky, and the sun shining in another part.  An ideal situation for a bright rainbow.  The rainbow is a sign in the sky of God’s presence.  He put the rainbow in the sky for Noah, as a sign of his covenant that he would not flood the earth again.

Over and over God says in his Word He is the one who made the heavens and the seas.  As I am experiencing the changes in the heavens and the seas so close at hand, my heart overflows with praise to The Lord.  I believe in the God who made the heavens and the earth.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. (‭Psalm‬ ‭19‬:‭1-4‬ NIV)

Dare to believe in God.  It pleases God when we believe.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/trio-4/

The Farmer hears the Cry of the Cow Separated from her Young.

We returned home after visiting family.  It is good to be home again in the middle of nature.
My neighbour told me the swallows leave on the 22 nd September.
We arrived back on the 23 rd and I was anxious to see if he was right.
This morning I looked out to see if there were any swallows gathered on the electric wires. 
There were a few circling over the trees.
This afternoon there is not a swallow in sight.
I missed their gathering on the wires to leave.
There is a stillness in the country.  All the animals in the fields are quiet.  If an animal makes a sound the farmer knows something is wrong.
Last night a cow was roaring in the field beside us.  I knew something must be wrong with her.
My neighbour is away on holidays.
I went out early this morning to see her.  She was needing attention.
Another farmer came by and told me the cow’s calf was missing!  He had found the calf and reunited them. There has not been a sound from them since.
All my children have left home.
I have been sad like the cow separated from her young.
But I will see them again.
I marvelled that the farmers help one another here when necessary.
At this time of the year some farmers take the calves, that has been reared by their mothers all summer, to market.
Then there is plenty of roaring from the cows that have been separated from their young.
The bond is broken and the cows would be uncomfortable with milk gathering in their udders.
This reminds me of a story in 1 Samuel 16

“Now then, get a new cart ready, with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up.
So they did this. They took two such cows and hitched them to the cart and penned up their calves.
Then the cows went straight up toward Beth Shemesh, keeping on the road and lowing all the way; they did not turn to the right or to the left. (‭1 Samuel‬ ‭6‬:‭7, 10, 12‬ NIV)
These cows were carrying the Ark of The Lord on the cart from the Philistines to Israel. These creatures defied nature and submitted to the yoke that pulled the Ark of The Lord.
Sometimes I have to go against my natural instincts when I have to obey God. Inside I want to scream but I have to submit to the yoke of The Lord.
Jesus said “My yoke is easy and my burden light.”Matt 11 v30

Perhaps this time of the year is significant.
The swallows go south, the calves are weaned from their mothers, Canadian Geese migrate here, and children leave home.
September 24 is the feast of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish New Year.
The holiday is a commemoration of God’s creation of the world.
Perhaps the holiday reflects the cycles in creation.

L’shana tovah u’metukah