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/

Begin to Unravel the Problem

Police are called to unravel the cause of an accident, or how a thief got access to a home to steal. Lawyers and judges use their skills to find out if a person is guilty of a crime. Doctors can unravel what is causing a certain illness. Something has gone wrong in each situation to cause the failure.

At the moment in our country the UK government are trying to unravel why the talks in Stomont have broken down and are helping the parties to come to an agreement to move forward. Experts are needed in different fields in order to resolve, find an answer to, or disentangle a situation.

It seems in life situations there comes a crisis when one has to look back and see how one came to an impasse. It can be a breakdown in health, in a relationship, in a job, in a company or in government. It can feel like there is no way forward or all hope is gone.

At that juncture there is a need to unravel what has gone wrong and seek for a solution.
I was given a prophetic word many years ago that God was unraveling my life, unraveling the wrong roads I had been down. We are born into an imperfect world with a predisposition to make wrong choices. Woe is me! But God promises to be with us in trouble, Psalm 91. When I called out to God when I faced death with fourth stage cancer he started to unravel the cause of my distress by giving dreams and revelation. Each one’s situation is different. God untangled my feelings and attitudes.

John 10 v 10. The devil is described as “the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus has come that we may have life to the full, “and he undoes the work of the devil. He unravels the work of the devil in our lives and cancels all hold the enemy has on our lives. He says, Stop, no more Killing, Destroying and Stealing. This is what Jesus did for me. His Holy Spirit gave revelations that released me from Cancer. You can read all about this in my book, Staying Alive on Amazon.

My hope is restored as I hope in God to unravel any situation I face. God can do the same for you and restore hope. Call on the name of Jesus. He is alive and hears your cry. He is not deaf. He will unravel your life.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/unravel/

Colourful Crocus

When I listen to the news about world issues it is easy to become discouraged.  Tragedies, famines and other crises are news headlines.   Clouds of doom and gloom can descend over my mind.

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Jesus said, “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in me.”  John 14 v 1
It was a beautiful, bright, sunny day today.   I took a snap of these crocus that opened up in the heat of the sun.  The sun dispersed any dark clouds.

These little blooms cheered my soul.

World Cancer Day

I watched the movie “The 33” recently.  It is based on a true story about the survival of thirty three men who were trapped down a mine in 2010.
The men were in the mine for sixty seven days before they were rescued.
It is a film demonstrating Faith, hope, perseverance, overcoming, never giving up, leadership, endurance and brotherly love.  The power of unity in families, community and  a nation brought about the response in other nations to help.

When the men realised they were trapped down the mine,  one man declared “We will be rescued.”  He believed the families would not give up.  He became their leader and all the others respected him.  He did not waver in his belief.  Food ran out, some men rebelled,  others wanted to give up.  He quelled any storms that arose.  They prayed the “Our Father” together, the prayer Jesus taught his disciples.

Yes families of the trapped men did not give up on their loved ones.  They kept a vigil at the mine and asked the government to help.  Many people and nations were involved in their rescue.  The whole world looked on.  My son told me he remembers watching on TV as each man came out of the capsule.

What struck me was the power of the faith of one man who said “We will be rescued.”  His faith moved mountains literally.  God responds to faith.  God brings the answer despite many, many difficulties.

This story was poignant for me because 2010 was the year I went through my battle with cancer.  My family and community believed that I would be healed from cancer.  There were many difficulties to overcome, but God responded to people believing I would be healed.  I am healed.  Yes I was rescued from the grave.  Like me those men were rescued from death.

Yesterday was World Cancer Day.  My daughter in law rang me.  She said, “I was listening to a programme on the radio about cancer.”  A consultant, a nurse and a cancer patient were interviewed.  Various people rang in to tell their stories about their treatments and how they were coping.  She heard how they all suffered.
She said, “I didn’t realise before what is involved in going through cancer.  It is a miracle you are healed and you didn’t suffer any side effects from the treatment.  Praise God.”

Our Father is God Almighty, who revealed himself to Abraham of old.  God promised him a son.  Abraham believed God would keep his promise.  God said to Abraham “Is anything too hard for The Lord.”  Genesis 18 v 14.  When Abraham was 100 years old and his wife Sarah, 90 years old they had the promised child.  They had to wait a long time.   God is the same God, yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He is the God of our forefathers and will be with our descendants to the 1000th generation.

Has God given you a promise?  Are you hoping for a desire you have to be fulfilled.  Do not give up believing and hoping.  Declare what you believe.  God will respond to your declaration of Faith.  Open your mouth.  Like the miner speak out, “We will be rescued.”
He didn’t keep asking God to rescue them.  He said “We will be rescued”.

The Unknown God

Many people are not sure if there is a God.  There is a story in a book called the bible, about a man called Paul who was a follower of Jesus.  He was in Athens, where he found an altar to The Unknown God.  I quote,

So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.
“He is the God who made the world and everything in it.
Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs.
He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.
From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth.
He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us.
For in him we live and move and exist.  “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.” (‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭17‬:‭22-31‬ NLT)

The one whom he raised from the dead is Jesus.  He came and lived on the earth for three years and went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the Devil.  God spoke out of the cloud his love and approval of his son Jesus.

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (‭Matthew‬ ‭17‬:‭5‬ NIV)
No other person has risen from the dead.  No other God is kind and merciful.  No other god claims to lift heavy burdens from people’s back and offer them rest.

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 easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭11‬:‭28-30‬ NLT)

He gives food to the hungry, he frees prisoners, and opens the eyes of the blind.  Psalm 146 v 7-8

He healed the sick.

And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. (‭Matthew‬ ‭14‬:‭14‬ KJV)

I choose to believe what these words say.  I choose to believe in Jesus.

There are many books written about people who claim to help you if you follow them.

Psalm 146 v 3 says

Don’t put your confidence in powerful people, there is no help for you there.

I was diagnosed of fourth stage bowel cancer in 2010.  “That is a death sentence”, someone said.  I should be dead in the grave.  But I took hope in Jesus’ promise to heal today.  He told his followers to do the same as he did.  He is not a dead god.  He is alive and interested in our lives.  Jesus healed me from all cancer!  I am alive! I pray for others to be healed in Jesus name.

The unknown god that Paul spoke about many centuries ago healed me from cancer in 2010.  His name is Jesus.  Call upon him and you too can be healed.

Testimony Tuesday. Something Broken Made Into Something Beautiful

I have taken up a hobby of making mosaics from broken pieces of glass and pottery.

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One sunny morning in Springtime I went for a walk along the foreshore.  It is a stony beach.  I noticed pieces of green glass glistening among the pebbles.  They were looking at me inviting me to pick them up.  I picked one up, then another, and another until my pocket was full.  I felt like I was panning for gold in the stones of the shoreline.   Brendan joined me is my treasure hunt and he collected a pocket full too.  We collected other species, shades of blue, white, and brown.

I inspected them all when I returned home.  I asked myself what can I do with these colourful but broken pieces of glass.  The edges weren’t sharp any more and their colours were cloudy from the years of being broken and worn with the sea storms.  They had lost their shine.  Circumstances in life bring troubles, disappointments, lose or rejection leaving one worn down with the storms of life or relegated to the ash heap.

When washed and grim removed, my pieces of glass were ready to be positioned into something beautiful.

As I looked at the different shapes of green pieces I was inspired to make a mosaic of my country, Ireland, which has thirty two counties. I would use a piece of glass for each county.  I found a piece of wood and a tube full of tile filler.  So started my hobby of making mosaics.  I tried out putting other colours of glass together.  I find I relax as I work.

On Saturday I discovered a new site along the shoreline to build up my supply of broken pieces. I added to my collection, pieces of pottery.  I was excited to see how these pieces would clean up.  Some had blue willow patterns, some had plain colours.  How would they fit in to a mosaic?

As I worked I reminded myself how glass is made.  It is made from the common material, sand.  The sand is heated to 1700 degrees. Through the fire sand changes to become glass.  Pottery is made from clay, a common material.  The clay is treated in high temperatures to turn it to pottery.

The Word of God tells us that we were created by God.

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (‭Genesis‬ ‭2‬:‭7‬ NIV)

Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭64‬:‭8‬ NIV)

Sometimes when I go through difficult times I wonder what is happening to me.  This passage from Peter explains,

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭4‬:‭12‬ NIV)

When I go though the fires of difficulty I am being transformed to be a useful vessel for The Lord, like the sand being transformed to glass or the clay to pottery.

The pieces of glass and pottery on the beach are all that remain of useful vessels.  Perhaps the blue glass was a beautiful perfume bottle or the piece of pottery, a treasured piece of willow patterned delph on a bride’s dresser.

But even after many years Our Creator God can reach down and touch all that remains of a broken vessel and make something new.  My mosaics speak to me of hope.  There is life after brokenness.  They can be displayed on a dresser again or adorn a bathroom wall and be a thing of beauty again.  God will restore lives again.

Family Friday. Mother Duck said Quack Quack Come Back

In my blogs recently I have been talking about birds. I get inspiration from them. Jesus told us to look at the Birds.  A good plug for going bird watching. I know a friend who was heart broken after her husband left her.  Part of her therapy to recover was to go bird watching.  She joined a local Bird Watching Club.

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?  Matthew 6 v 25-27 NLT
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭33‬ NLT)

One of my sons has finished his training in Law.  He is home for the holidays.  I was urging him to return to Scotland after the holidays and apply for trainee jobs to get him to the next stage.  Getting a job is so competitive.  In my mother role I was getting annoyed and worried.  Scriptures say worry is a sin and I don’t want to sin.  So I have to stop worrying and pray.

After a good nights sleep my mind is changed.  I have to let my son decide for himself and not conimagetrol him.  I have to let him go.  I can advise but it is up to him what he does.  It was by making mistakes and suffering I learned about life and the right choices to make.  I cannot go back to seven years ago when I developed cancer.  I have to stay alive.

Part of the role of parents is to look after the children but then to let them go to start their own lives.  Around the time I developed  cancer,  I was finding it hard to cope with the lose in my life of children leaving home.  My heart was breaking.  I was suffering in silence.

My daughter shared a post with me. She is in Kenya at the moment. It is about a little girl singing the nursery rhyme,
Mother Duck and her little ones. As she finishes the rhyme she starts to cry. She must have been sad for the mother duck left alone.

Five little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mother duck said “Quack, quack, quack, quack”
But only four little ducks came back.

Until
One little duck went out one day…
Over the hills and far away
Mother duck said “Quack, quack, quack, quack”
But none of the five little ducks came back

The internet says it is a nursery rhyme that teaches children to count backwards.  That may be so but the writer of this work had something else in mind I believe.

As children leave home one by one a mother feels the pain of her lose.  The mother and children spend time together when the children are young.  They go out to play together.  Then a day comes when one grows up and has to leave to go over the hills and far away.  Nowadays hills don’t just separate us . Oceans wide and deep separate us.

One by one the ducks go far away.  This has been so for me and my children.  My last little duck left two years ago.  My heart would have been broken if The Lord has not comforted me and healed me.  He has given me other work to do after rearing my children.

There is hope.  The last verse of the nursery rhyme goes,

Sad mother duck went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mother duck said “QUACK! QUACK! QUACK! QUACK!”
And all of the five little ducks came back.

I think of a verse from the scriptures often.

This is what The Lord says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” This is what the Lord says: “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,” declares the Lord. “They will return.” (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭31‬:‭15-16‬ NIV)

Don’t cry mothers out there.  The Lord will reward your work. Like mother duck the young will return.