Give Thanks

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who struck down mighty kings. His faithful love endures forever.
He killed powerful kings— His faithful love endures forever.
He remembered us in our weakness. His faithful love endures forever.
He saved us from our enemies. His faithful love endures forever.
He gives food to every living creature. His love endures forever.
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭136:1, 17-18, 23-24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In front of my window this morning blackbirds, a pigeon, wag tails, starlings, a chaffinch and robins feed. The God, who created the heaven and the earth cares for them.
It is a privilege to be alive to see the life around me. It is good to be still and take rest in the peace. I heard a pastor say that nature is a bible for us to see with our eyes. The heavens declare the glory of the risen Lord.

I remember back to many times in my life when I was feeling weak and helpless. I was doing my work looking after my husband, family and home. At times I felt overwhelmed. Our unseen enemies put pressure on us.

There were enemies in Israel called the Amelikites. God hated them because they picked off the weak ones among the Israelites. The elderly and the young are the most vulnerable. If they attacked the people the elderly and the young die first. They will not survive in war.

When Moses travelled through the desert he went at the pace of the people who were with young. He protected them. When Jacob was returning to see his father Isaac he went at the pace of the women and children.

The Amalekites are a symbol of spiritual enemies in our lives that are out to attack us when we are weak, to rob, destroy and kill. I believe a father and mother are so important to protect our young from the unseen spirits. Only with Jesus help can we overcome.

“He remembered our utter weakness. He saved us from our enemies.”

I can testify as we reared our children God covered our backs from our enemies who wanted to snare us.

It has been said that it takes a whole community to rear a child. In the past in Ireland neighbors and extended family looked out for one another. If a parent was under pressure a granny or relative would look after the children for a day to give respite.

Now families are independent and nuclear. One may think, “Oh I’m okay I won’t need anyone’s help.” The pressure comes when children are sick, the husband looses his job or other unforeseen difficulties. We need others.

I enjoy nature programmes. I have watched how wildebeest, zebra and caribou migrate in search of food and to have their young. When they come to the green pastures there are hungry enemies waiting who haven’t had food for days. A crocodile lies in wait under the water to gobble up some weak calf or sick animal who cannot get across the river and is cut off from the herd. Scrawny wolves lick their jaws when they see a meal coming their way. They hunt in packs and pick off the weak, sick, lame, old and young of the herd that have fallen behind. Lions hunt down the wildebeest that begin to stampede. The young and old can’t keep up with the rest so become easy prey for the lions who outrun them. There is safety in staying with the group.

Where our family lived was important. Our homes were always near schools, doctors, dentists, shops, hairdresser, bus stop, friends and recreation areas. There was a hospital, library and swimming pool in each town where we lived. The teachers knew our children as they passed up through the schools. They were kind to them. School friends were important. My eldest daughter still meets regularly with friends she met at school. Football coaches were supportive and looked out for my boys attending soccer, rugby or Gaelic. The clinic was nearby for care from the doctor when I was pregnant. I could walk to the supermarket from each place I lived. We felt safe in the places where we lived.

God brought us to green pastures and protected us from our enemies.

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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

Someday you will Understand

I hear my mother echo down through the years, “Someday you will understand.”
Back then life was carefree; my dad and mum looked after their big family. We children played in the barn of hay, ducked in the river, roamed over the hills, played hide and seek, made mud cakes or climbed trees. I grew up on a farm and most of my childhood playtime was outdoors.

I became aware of the bigger world outside of our farm when I went to school. The master would have us stand around the map of Ireland. I realized I lived in Ireland. Another day we studied the map of The British Isles. Ireland was an island beside England. We were part of Europe and the World. “Who am I, a little girl in this big world.” What is life about? My father and mother shielded us from any concerns or worries they may have had in raising their ten children. How did they do it?
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Now many years later my husband and I have raised fourteen children. We learned from the example of our own parents and the wisdom we gleaned from the scriptures and wisdom from other people. We have faith in God Almighty who we believe is looking after us. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, yet he cares for us.

“Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭8:1, 3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I did not know what life had in store for me when I left home. I was like a plant that had been nurtured in a greenhouse but had to face the elements when planted outside. Life has taught me many lessons.
I now want to tell my children the wisdom I have gleaned. Here is some advice from Proverbs in the scripture.

“My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God.
Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭2:1-2, 5, 9-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“My child, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:1-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I want to give my children some understanding for the future. I know life was daunting as I started out in life in the world beyond family. The above scriptures give advice that gives one guidance that is sure not to fail wherever one is in the world.

Someday they will be thankful.

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

In Memory of Nannie

I read in the local paper that Catholic missionaries are visiting each home in the parish over the next three weeks.  Attendance at Church each Sunday is dwindling.  It is twenty years since the last mission.

I remember there being a mission in our parish every few years when I was growing up.  People were encouraged in their faith by the visiting speakers.  It was an opportunity to renew one’s faith in God.

My daughter had a remembrance dinner for her Nannie, my husband’s late mother, recently.  She died two years ago around this time at the ripe age of ninety four.  Shann was telling me that Nannie, who was a widow and her sons had left home, kept a missionary every time there was a mission in her parish in Lurgan.  I never knew this about Nannie.

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Next week Brendan and I are going on a mission to Slovakia.  Brendan has travelled to many nations.  She now has missionaries in her own family.  Who knows what blessing has come to her family because of her hospitality to the man of God.  She received her reward on the earth and in heaven.

I am reminded of the story of the widow from Zarephath who let Elijah the prophet stay with her when there was a famine in the land.  She was going to make her last meal when Elijah passed by.  He asked her to give him water and food and she did.  He said to her,

“For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’ ”
She went away and did as Elijah had told her.
So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.
For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.”  1 Kings 17 v 14 – 16.

Later the widow’s son died.  Elijah brought him back to life.  So Elijah worked two miracles for the widow because she let him stay with her.

Nannie was very generous with her widow’s pension.  Her source of provision never ran out.  Money seemed to turn up for her.  There was always a welcome in her home for the poor person.  Nannie would admit herself she was not perfect.  But she believed in what The Word of God says, ” pure religion is to look after the widow and the poor.”

When we would visit she always wanted us to pray for her before we left.  She had an overcoming spirit even though she had many sorrows in her life.  She was widowed since she was thirty years old.   She always sent our children money to help them at university.  She gave money to Brendan when he travelled.  Only God knows her sacrifices.  Our children are blessed because of their Nannie.

“but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

She is with the great cloud of witnesses looking on.

Are You in the Wilderness?

Jesus, the son of God came on earth as a baby boy to his mother Mary.  He stayed at home till he was thirty.  Perhaps Joseph died during that time. The scriptures do not tell us.  He would have looked after and helped his mother and his siblings.  He honoured his mother and cared for her.

The time came when Jesus determined in his heart to accomplish the work he left heaven to do on the earth.  He came to forgive mankind their sins, heal their diseases and destroy the works of the devil, who had ruled the earth since Adam and Eve sinned.

His ministry began when Jesus was baptised in the Jordan by John.  The heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove and a voice came from heaven , “You are my beloved Son,  with you I am well pleased.”  Those around heard the voice of God.  God was honouring his son before the people and also encouraging Jesus to go forward in his work.

Very often a son or daughter needs that encouragement and reassurance from a parent.

The Holy Spirit led Jesus in the wilderness for forty days being tempted by the devil.  He ate nothing.  The devil came to divert Jesus from his mission.  He knew Jesus was a threat to his dominion over the whole earth.

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ ” (‭Luke‬ ‭4‬:‭5-8‬ NIV)

The devil states that the kingdoms of the world have been given to him.  Jesus came to take away the devil’s authority over the kingdoms of this world.

The devil even knew the scriptures.
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully;
Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” (‭Luke‬ ‭4‬:‭9-10, 12‬ NIV)

It is good to pray.  It is even better to fast and pray.  The devil does not like you fasting.  When one fast one becomes weaker and vulnerable and knows one’s need of help.  The Holy Spirit and angels ministered to Jesus when he was fasting.  In the wilderness he was removed from people, family and friends and all worldly distractions.  After Jesus time of fasting he began his ministry.

Do you feel as if you are in a wilderness in your life?  You may be surrounded by people or work, but you have that dissatisfied feeling deep down.  Has your life not turned out the way you wanted?  Do you feel abandoned or neglected by God?  Are you sick? Are you thirsty? Do you want your life to count?  Do not despair.

I Continue reading

The Power of Touch

Yes I believe there is power in touch.

Power is transmitted by touch from one person to an other.  Love is transmitted by touch.  Warmth is transmitted by touch.  Care is transmitted by the touch of a hand.  Reassurance is transmitted by touch.  Welcome and greeting are transmitted by a hand shake.  Healing is transmitted by touch.  Comfort is transmitted by touch.  We keep warm by touch.  Touch brings peace, stillness and rest.

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An embrace demonstrates inclusiveness, the opposite of rejection.  A pet, whether it is a cat, chicken, dog or horse responds to the touch of his owners hand.  They are reassured that they are important to their owner.

Christian marriage vows include the words, “Do you take (name) to be your wife to have and to hold from this day forth. Having someone to hold or touch is necessary for people.  God said it was not good for man to be alone.  Marriage is important for companionship.  Ecclesiastes says Two are better than one.  When they lie down they keep warm.  This is so true as we approach winter.

I want to give you some examples of the power of touch.

A new born baby was revived when he lay on his mother’s breast.  The mum spoke to her lifeless child while she and her husband lovingly touched him.  Another new born baby was placed on his mother’s chest as she lay in a coma.  Her heart responded to the baby’s cry.  The mother made a full recovery.

Life and healing flow through touch.  How comforting for each of my babies to be held in their father’s big hands.  My husband was at the birth of each child and held each one and welcomed him into the world with his voice and reassuring touch.

When I held each of my new born babies in my arms love flowed from my heart to the baby.  The baby automatically began to suckle when he touched my breast.  My body responded to my baby’s touch by producing milk for the baby.  In the early years of a child’s life he will feel his dad and mum’s touch often.  It is in the family that we learn about touch.  In public people keep their boundaries and don’t often touch.

Jesus broke that protocol.  He and his disciples touched people outside of family to impart healing.

In the Bible, the first mention of Jesus touching anyone happens when he lays hands on the little children. The women wanted Jesus to lay hands on their children and pray.

Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. (‭Matthew‬ ‭19‬:‭7, 13-15‬ NIV)

He touched a little girl and heals her.

Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” (‭Mark‬ ‭5‬:‭22-23‬ NIV)

It was important for Jesus to touch people to impart healing.

“Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.”(‭Luke‬ ‭4‬:‭40‬ KJV)

A woman with a issue of blood for twelve years believed if she touched Jesus’ garment she would be healed.

Just then a woman with an issue of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the hem of his cloak.  Jesus turned to her and said Your faith has made you whole.”

He instructed his disciples to do the same.

They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. (‭Mark‬ ‭6‬:‭13‬ NIV)

They will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” (‭Mark‬ ‭16‬:‭17-18‬ NIV)

Jesus told his followers to touch people and they would receive the Holy Spirit.

They laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. (‭Acts‬ ‭8‬:‭17‬ KJV)

The personal touch is important to Jesus.  Through one touching another with his hands healing is imparted as Jesus taught us.  When each of my family prayed and laid hands on me for my healing I felt heat coming into my body from his hands.  The power of God is transmitted though touch.  Like power comes into the battery of an iPhone through the charger, power comes from one person to another when we pray in Jesus name.

Reach out and touch someone today.  You will bring change.  People are too busy rushing and working starved of love.

https://daily post.wordpress.com/prompts/the-power-of-touch/

 

 

 

You Shall Wear Them All as Jewels.

I picked up this ring today from the jewellers.  I had left it there some time ago to get enlarged to fit my finger.

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My son Isaac was home from Canada last month for a visit.  He left Ireland in July 2014 to work in Canada.  He not only found work there but also romance.

Earlier this year Isaac travelled with Sam Emerson on a mission to Kenya.  My husband connected Cloverdale Church with a pastor in Kenya that educates and cares for orphans.  The church continue to support this work.  So my son from Ireland goes to Kenya via Canada to meet a pastor his dad met many years ago.

Isaac and Sam had some time to kill while they waited for their flight out of Kenya.  They went downtown Nairobi.  They enjoyed the colourful culture of this country so far away from Canada or Ireland.  Isaac’s dad travels to the nations, so Isaac was comfortable seeing a new nation.
Isaac found a silver ring with jewels on it, in a shop or market place, I don’t know which.  He counted the number of jewels.  There were sixteen, the number of children in his family plus dad and mum.  It reminded him of his family.  He purchased the ring and kept it safe.
Isaac presented it to me when he returned home for a visit.  I was touched when he told me how he came by the ring.
Brendan often says, “God knows where I live.”
That day God knew where Isaac was.  He picked up a piece of jewellry in the midst of the hustle and bustle of a street in Kenya.  It reminded him of home.  He is one of those sixteen stones on the ring.  I will wear this ring.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.
Your children hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you.
Lift up your eyes and look around; all your children gather and come to you.
As surely as I live,” declares the Lord, “you will wear them all as jewels;
you will put them on, like a bride. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭49‬:‭15-18‬ NIV)