Rosh Hashanah

 

“Today, the feast of Rosh Hashanah is being celebrated by the people of Israel. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is one of Judaism’s holiest days. … Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur a holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement.”. Quote from “History.com”

It is the beginning of the Jewish civil New Year. The people of Israel celebrate with friends and family for two days. It is the time when they look back on the past year and reflect on their failings and successes. They dip apples into honey sharing pieces and wish each other a sweet new year. They throw pieces of bread into water signifying their sins being washed away. These two days are the beginning of a season of repentance before God ending in Yum Kippur, when the people fast.

Tonight I was reading from Psalm 65.

What mighty praise O God, awaits you in Zion.
We will fulfil our vows to you because you answer our prayers
and to you all people will come.
Though our hearts are filled with sins you forgive them all.
You are the hope of everyone on earth.
You formed the mountains by your power.

What wonderful words of love and promise from God!

Let us join with the people of Israel at this season and reflect on our failings this past year. God has provided his Son Jesus to wash away our sins. Jesus died on the cross and shed his blood for the forgiveness of all people’s sins, Jews and Gentiles. All one has to do is believe there is a God, our Father in heaven and believe in his Son Jesus.
The Jews believe in the God of Creation, but do not have a revelation of Jesus yet.

Jesus breaks the power of sin in our lives. We often feel we cannot be forgiven for the wrong we have done. Or we keep doing the same wrong over and over again and never feel free from condemnation and guilt. Woe is me. But Jesus brings us good news. He sets one free from sin’s power and condemnation and guilt. He washes us as white as snow when we come to him. He remembers our sins no more. Our sins are truly washed away.  I know my sins are forgiven and I am healed of deathly cancer through the power of Jesus.  He defeated the power of sin and the power of death in cancer over me.  I’m alive to tell the tale.

““For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins.”
But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.
Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:15, 19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Now some people believe Jesus forgives their sins and don’t need to keep asking for forgiveness each year.  It is good to come before God and admit our failings.

The Word of God says we are to confess our sins one to another so we will be healed.

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
‭‭James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I believe I needed to confess my sins to others and they prayed for me so my body could be healed of cancer.

Have a sweet year ahead.  Be forgiven and healed.

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The Father of Fourteen Children

Today my husband and I are celebrating a great Achievment, that all fourteen of our children have qualified with a degree from top universities in the United Kingdom. Our two youngest children just found out their results: Abraham got a 2: 1 degree in Chemistry from St Andrews and Angela got a 2:1 degree in Neuroscience from Edinburgh. We will be attending their graduations in June and July.

Psalm 128 says
“How joyful are those who fear the Lord — all who follow his ways!
You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table.
That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭128:1-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I want to thank my husband. He chose to follow The Lord many years ago. Today almost forty years later I see the fruit of his choice back then. I am happy at his side and his children are successful. He has been faithful through many difficulties of family life in this generation when being a father is not honored.

Brendan chose to have as many children as God would give him. It has not been easy. One has had to be patient, endure, remain calm, pray in times of trouble and rejoice in times of joy.
An Arab taxi driver in Israel said to Brendan when he learned we had fourteen children, “You will go straight to heaven because it must be hell on earth.” A lady in Florida said “Oh your poor husband.” when I told her we had fourteen children.

I must admit I have not been as sympathetic with Brendan. But God sees Brendan’s heart and has been with him through many trials and temptations. He has strengthened him when the going got tough. But as the song says “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” I would not be alive unless he believed that God would heal me. I had fourth stage cancer and I would not be here to see my children graduate.

My dad was a pioneer in his day when there wasn’t much money. He wanted his eight girls and two sons to receive an education. We all attended grammar school. My sisters qualified as teachers and nurses. I graduated from the University of Ulster.

Brendan loved books from he was young. He would spend many hours in his local library. When he visited friends with his mother he would take down the books from the shelf and read while his mum chatted. His call to be a writer was developing back then.
He encouraged his children to do well in education. There was always books in our home and a desk in each of the children’s room to do their homework. We didn’t have a TV when our children were growing up. Those children developed a love of reading books. Brendan coached his children and inspired them to be high achievers. If they failed he helped them to get going again.

We were blessed to have good schools for our children to attend, in Coleraine and Downpatrick in Northern Ireland. So a big thank you for all those teachers who encouraged and took an interest in our children.

A big thank you to each of my children who endured the difficulties and temptations that university life brings your way. You succeeded. You endured to the end. I am proud of you.

Above all God blessed us all with health and strength to achieve this success.

But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.””
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:17‬ ‭NIV

Seven years healed of Cancer

“Can anyone heal me of cancer?” I cried when I was diagnosed with malignant cancer.

It will be seven years this Easter Monday since I was diagnosed with Fourth Stage Bowel Cancer. Four months later the Doctor gave me a letter to declare the nine inch tumour in my colon was gone, “a clean bill of health.” I am healed in the name of Jesus. I am like the woman who touched the hem of Jesus garment in Jerusalem 2000 years ago.

Jesus walked through the towns and villages of Israel. He helped those who came to him because God gave him power to cast out demons and heal the sick. He annoyed the religious leaders and rulers of the day because the people followed him. He became a threat to their authority. They planned to kill him.

Jesus willingly faced death.

Judas, one of Jesus’ disciples, shared the last supper with him but after, betrayed him to the leaders. They arrested Jesus and condemned him to death. He was abandoned and alone. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter yet he didn’t open his mouth. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering.

The guards mocked him and pierced his head with a crown of thorns, calling him King. They spat on him and crushed the crown of thorns deeper into his head with a staff. His blood flowed down his face and garment. He was pierced for my transgressions. For he bore my sin and made intercession for me. He took the anguish, guilt, fear and despair in my head on his.

They took him and opened up his back with thirty nine lashes from a leather leaded whip. By his wounds I am healed.

He carried a heavy wooden cross to Golgatha. Traces of blood left a trail on the ground. It was poured out for many. Jesus turned to women who were nearby and said “Don’t weep for me but weep for yourselves and your children.” These words echo down through the centuries to me as I pray for my children.

The soldiers hammered nails into Jesus hands and feet and crucified him with two others. He gave up his spirt saying “It is finished.” A soldier came and pierced Jesus side with a spear , bringing a sudden flow of water and blood. They will look on the one that has pierced. He poured his life unto death and was numbered with transgressors.

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭27:51-52, 54‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Easter is celebrated next Sunday throughout the nations. Why is it remembered every year? It is a tradition that has been handed down through generations because Jesus told his disciples to remember his death.

“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lordʼs death until he comes.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭11:23-26‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This week I am celebrating that Jesus is alive and he has caused me to stay alive. His is the only grave that is empty. It is there in Jerusalem for all to see. He arose from the grave. He appeared to his disciples and showed them his hands and his feet. “Touch me. A ghost does not have flesh and bones.” After, he was taken up into heaven. There he is seated as he prophesied, “From now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of Almighty God.”

Jesus commissioned his disciples to do the same things he did while he was on earth, forgive sins and heal the sick, using the power of his name, Jesus. Now he can reach to the ends of the earth to forgive sin and heal diseases by his spirit.

I know there is power in the blood that Jesus shed through his suffering. I plead the Blood of Jesus over me and it protects me from all harm.

May The Lord Jesus open your eyes to recognise Jesus in the breaking of Bread and drinking of the Wine this Easter. May he open your mind to understand the Scriptures.

“Can anyone heal me of cancer” I said seven years ago. I thought God wasn’t listening. He heard my cry and today I am healed.

Words in Italics are from Isaiah 53.

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

Jerusalem is Prospering.

Brendan and I are in Jerusalem. Number seventeen bus pulled up to our stop. The largest Mall in Israel and the Sports arena is nearby. On our thirty minute journey into the centre of Jerusalem we viewed the many houses, towers, blocks of flats and new hotels being built on the hills surrounding the Old City of Jerusalem. There are cranes standing outlined against the sky, signs of new building work going on. New roadways, tram and train tracks are being laid. Nowhere else in all the world is there such expansion. The new houses are being built to accommodate the exiles returning and the growing population
image

“Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem.
Walk around and count the many towers.
Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future generations.
For that is what God is like.
He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭48:12-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

People from many nations have come to live in Jerusalem. I have met Ethiopians, Americans, Canadians, Russians, Moldovans, Romanians, Columbians, Carribeans, Irish and French people who now live in Israel. Prophesy is being fulfilled before our eyes. In the past the Jewish nation was scattered though out the world and suffered much persecution and rejection. But in these days God is bringing them back to live in Israel again.

““In that day,” says the LORD, “when people are taking an oath, they will no longer say,
‘As surely as the LORD lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’
Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’
Then they will live in their own land.””
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭23:7-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Brendan and I raised a family of fourteen children. Family is very important in the Jewish tradition. We witnessed this as we sat down in the square of the Jewish quarter. Families were sitting together. One little girl cried out “Abba, Abba!” She wanted her daddy to watch her as she stepped up onto wall. Others walked together holding hands with their father and mother. In one family I noticed four little girls dressed in similar modest outfits. Perhaps the mother made the dresses. I remembered back to when my first three girls were young I made them similar blue dresses. Brendan and I looked at each other. We were reminded of the days when we used to walk hand in hand with our children in the forest or beach on a day out.

image

I feel at home in Jerusalem. I am a mother in Jerusalem today. It is the only place in the western world where you see big families. Other nations promote birth control and abortion to restrict their population. They do not believe children are a blessing from God.

“May the LORD continually bless you from Zion.
May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live.
May you live to enjoy your grandchildren.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭128:5-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It is the twenty first century. Knowledge and travel has increased. I am seeing the prosperity of Jerusalem. I have been to Jerusalem four times since I was healed from fourth stage cancer. I have seen seven more grandchildren born. God has fulfilled his promise to me from Psalm 128. God is alive and bringing about his promises to the Jewish people and to my husband and I in these days.

Restore our Fortunes.

God will restore our fortunes.

Today I read in Northern Ireland Visitor’s Journal the following article.

image

I was born near where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea in Co Down Northern Ireland.  I took its beauty for granted.  I left home at 18 and studied in Coleraine, eighty miles away.  A new university had opened there and I applied to go there and was successful.  I remained there and raised my family.

I came to visit with my sister for a few days with four of my youngest children.  She lives in Co Down.  We went for a drive to Newcastle.  As I approached the town I was amazed at the beauty of the mountains that stood before me.  I had not appreciated this beauty before.
Are not we all like that.  When we are young we can’t wait to leave home to seek our fortunes somewhere else.

Percy French wrote a song which helped  publisize the Mountains of Mournes in Co Down.

Oh Mary this London’s a wonderful sight

With people here workin‘ by day and by night

They don’t sow potatoes, nor barley, nor wheat
But there’s gangs of them diggin’ for gold in the street
At least when I asked them that’s what I was told
So I just took a hand at this diggin’ for gold
But for all that I found there I might as well be
Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

The song tells us about a young man who left behind his girlfriend in his hometown near the Mournes, to seek his fortune in London.  He comes to realize the futility of hard labour away from his homeland, his beloved and his beautiful country.

Some years later my family moved from Coleraine back to Co Down.  God brought me back to my father’s land.  Just as he doing for his people Israel.  Over and over God promised his people Israel that he would restore them to the land of their forefathers.

Down the centuries many people have left Ireland.  Many songs and laments about Ireland have been written.  The inspiration comes out of hearts remembering where they came from and longing to return.  They listened to stories their forefathers told them.

Psalm 126 describes the fulfillment of the longing of the Jewish exiles who returned to their homeland from exile.

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭126:1-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God fulfills dreams.  Are you longing to return to your homeland?  Take the leap of faith and return.

God is restoring my fortunes and filling my heart with joy in my homeland.

Family Memories Created.

 

Psalm 145
Let each generation tell its children of his mighty acts.  Everyone will share the story of your mighty acts, wonderful miracles and your wonderful goodness.   Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.  You rule generation after generation.

Last weekend I invited family to visit.  It was an opportunity at the end of the summer and before children go back to school to spend time with one another.  It was also our son John’s birthday.  We remembered other family members’ birthdays that are in August and September.

Isaac is home on a visit from Canada and Angela is leaving to study in Queen’s university.  No, not in Belfast but in Kingston, Ontario far acros the Atlantic in Canada.
The weekend was a great success.  God blessed us with good weather.  We had clear skies in the day and night.  The sun shone and the full moon shone brightly over the bay in front of our home.

I wanted to show my family a National Trust Property at the end of the Ards Peninsula, where there are open spaces of fields and beaches.  Cousins went off together to climb down to the waters edge.  The grandchildren threw stones in the water and our children chatted with each other, enjoying the relaxed atmosphere.  One of my grandchildren joined me to collect sea glass and pottery.  I was amazed to find some there on top of the stones high above the shoreline.  Over the weekend I was given gifts of finds from the beach the grandchildren had picked for me.  I will make a collage to remind us of the event.

Brendan is excellent at creating memories.  He brought a kite which he launched and flew overheard for the time we were at the beach.  I am reminded of the song,
“His banner of us is love.”

Brendan lit a fire.  Everyone, young and old gathered sticks and debris that kept the fire burning.  Someone found a Wellington boot.  A competition to see who could throw the welly the furthest happened.  Grandchildren, children and grandparents took part.  Everyone was included.  Brendan can create fun without expense.  Memories were created.

When we parked the cars, dark clouds in the distance threated a downpour.  We contined anyway.  The clouds did not get to us.  Instead a beautiful rainbow appeared overhead.

We returned home tired and thirsty.  Everyone slept  well that night.

The weekend was an opportunity to share with my family all the “wonderful goodness” God has given to us this last year, new homes, jobs, grandchildren, continued good health and travel.  God is faithful.

I am inspired by the festivals Moses commanded the people of Israel to have when families gathered for a week to spend time together.  I think it is a good idea for family to get together for a day or weekend at least.

I am alive to see the next generation and tell them about God’s mighty acts in my life.

Family Friday. We Move to A New Town

 

Brendan and I moved back to Ballynahinch, Co Down where I was born.  Nine children moved with us.  Four other children were at university.  One was married.  Friends were perplexed at us moving away from Coleraine with your big family.  “How were we going to manage?” they asked.  “You will never get good schools like here.  Where will you live? Your children will miss their friends.”

I had been praying for five years that God would provide a bigger home for us.  I knew these young children would turn into teenagers and would need more space.  I believed that God would provide for me.  He gave me my children, and I believed he would help me.  When the children of Israel went into the promised land they were given land according to the size of their tribe.  I had a big family and I hoped that God who helped the children of Israel would do the same for me.

You must distribute the land among the clans by sacred lot and in proportion to their size. A larger portion of land will be allotted to each of the larger clans, and a smaller portion will be allotted to each of the smaller clans. The decision of the sacred lot is final.  (‭Numbers‬ ‭33‬:‭54‬ NLT)

We moved to a modern, warm bungalow.  There was plenty of room for us all.  My son John loved his new home and town.  He made friends easily at his new school.  He loved getting outdoors.  He would spend a Saturday with his new friends walking along the river behind our house or wandering over fields and forests beyond.  There was a corn mill nearby that was still working.  The boys went down there and looked at the large wheel turning with the water flowing over it.  I remember going there when I was a child with my father.  He was getting bags of corn bruised into oats.  The river behind our house fed the wheel that turned the grinding stone in the mill.

John’s adventures reminded me of Robert Louis Stevenson’ poem,

Keepsake Mill.

Over the borders, a sin without pardon,
Breaking the branches and crawling below,
Out through the breach in the wall of the garden,
Down by the banks of the river, we go.

Here is the mill with the humming of thunder,
Here is the weir with the wonder of foam,
Here is the sluice with the race running under
Marvellous places, though handy to home!

He would head off down the back of our garden, through a hole in the hedge to meet his friends.  They went fishing and swimming in the river behind the garden.  He would not return till late.

John started a new school, and travelled nine miles by bus to it.  His older sister went to the same school.  Settling into a new area and a new school can be daunting for any child.  John looked on his experience as an adventure and was enjoying a whole new world, new countryside, meeting my extended family, and making new friends.  He never looked back.

I later found out that our new neighbours’ son was bullied on the bus and at the school John went to.  He left and went to another school.  My daughter and son did not face any trouble on the bus or at school.  Because they had each other, no one dared pick on John because his big sister would soon respond and not take any hastle.  She was used to dealing with her siblings.  On any bus full of teenagers there will always be banter.  John and his sister took it all in their stride and didn’t make any enemies.

We all had a family holiday to Spain in the year 2000.  On the flight over to Spain John met a girl who went to his old school.  She was telling him that many of the children in his old class were using drugs.  I was so glad we moved when we did.  It was good for my daughter as well.  She was getting to the age where she was being influenced by friends to rebel.  She was made head girl in her new school.  Both my children found favour when they moved to a new town and new school.  I knew God was with us and he would look after us just as this scripture says.

And you saw how the LORD your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child.  Now he has brought you to this place.’ (‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭1‬:‭31‬ NLT)