Safety and Peace in Northern Ireland.

We are living in peace and and safety in Northern Ireland.

My neighbor keeps bees.  I was surprised.  I thought they must keep very quiet.  I never see any bees around the flowers in the garden.  Yesterday evening I was enjoying the evening sun.  I noticed a humming sound coming from high in the tree nearby.  I listened and looked.  It sounded like bees buzzing.  I looked closer and sure enough there were bees feeding on the pollen from the tree.  I noticed the white chairs under that tree felt sticky.  The pollen had fallen on them.  It must be sugary, pleasant for the bees to gather for their hive.  I now call this my buzzing tree.  As I pass each day I hear the sound of the bees above.

God has blessed us here in Ireland these last weeks with sunny, clear skies.  All life is opening up in the safety, warmth and comfort.  Shorts, cotton shirts and sun hats are taken out of storage.  We are using a pedalo Aaron bought for his young family years ago.  I thought it would never be used again as he has moved abroad.  No more sound of grandchildren squealing with delight as their dad launched out into the water at Newcastle.  But God.  He brings restoration.  Abraham and I were happily peddling in the Lough below with expensive yachts towering over us.  Granny was squealing!  God has filled my heart with joy.

I believe everyone should have a house and garden.  Having a home to keep warm in the winter is necessary.  As the spring arrives one needs to get out doors after a cold and dark winter.  Summer arrives suddenly when the trees get clothed in dark gree leaves and weeds sprout out of the ground where there was only soil a short time before.
As the days get long and warm it is pleasant to have space to sit outdoors and enjoy the flowers, the birds singing and fresh air.  It is good for the soul.  He leads me in green pastures to restore my soul.

In King Solomon’s reign in Judah and Israel, the people
“Were very contented with plenty to eat and drink.  And there was peace throughout the entire land. They lived in peace and safety.  Each family had his own home and garden.” I Kings 4 v 24.
When I travelled in Mediteranean countries I admired the little white houses with the families sitting under the shade of the vine tree in the cool of the evening.  It is a picture of what I read in Scripture,
“And every man neath his vine and fig tree shall live in peace and be unafraid.”  Micah 4

This was so refreshing to see.  I longed for that image of peace.  Could that ever happen in Northern Ireland?  At the time there was war.  Getting out of the turmoil for a week was a blessed relief.

Praise God today in N Ireland we do have peace and people are sitting out in their gardens.  The word of The Lord has come to pass.
“And into plowshares turn their swords,  and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”  Micah 4 v 3

Hail the King, hail The Lord of all.  Of his government there shall be no end in Ireland!  Isaiah 9.  Safety and peace are restored to N Ireland.

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I Must Go Down To The Sea Again

imageI am inspired to write this blog after reading “Sweet Killough, let down your Anchor”,  written by Maurice Hayes.  His mother was born in Listowel Co Kerry.  Living in Killough at the other end of Ireland seemed a million miles in the 1930s.  Her mother sent her a copy of the Kerryman every week.  News from home kept his mum in touch.  She seldom got to visit Kerry.

Hopefully my experience will give you a flavour of life along Strangford Lough near my home in Portaferry, N Ireland.  For my family abroad, my friends and followers dotted around the world, please take a walk with me on this pleasant November morning.

Brendan and I decided to take a walk, soon after sunrise.  Each time we take a walk we get a glimpse of the wildlife along the seashore, in the water, in the air or on the nearby grasslands.  This morning was no exception.

In the bay in front of us many colourful buoys, all shapes and sizes bob about in the water.  They provided anchors for yachts during the summer.  The swallows have left and so have the boats.  They will winter out in the safety of some yard.  Each buoy has a bird perched on it.  The biggest buoy has the biggest seabird, ranging from a heron, cormorant to some seagulls.  They squabble for supremacy.
They rest there enjoying the rising sun and still air.

Along the road I see a small upturned crab, partly eaten.  How did a crab get stranded along the road. I believe it is the remains of a meal a crow had left behind.  There is a forest along part of the shore.  Crows settle there in the evening.  In the morning most of them head off to feed on fields inland.  Not so our resident crows.  There are a dozen of these birds that have adapted to living off food from the shore.  As I was driving one day a crow dropped a sea shell onto the road.  The shell cracked open and the crow enjoyed a tasty morsel.  Clever creature.  They have adapted to foraging along the shore: food at their doorstep.

Brendan drew my attention to two aeroplanes flying west overhead, one in front of the other, to a far off shore.  We are enjoying having our feet on the ground after our recent travels.  We are beside still waters instead, having our souls restored.

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

We heard a honking sound from the other side of the lough.  There were large birds, I think swans, flying in formation to our right.  Brendan counted fourteen, the number of our  children.  They have flown the nest.  Gone but not forgotten.  This day forty four years ago I gave birth to our first child.  So started many years of child rearing.  A new season for us now.

A group of oyster catchers were hardly noticeable along the water’s edge.  They sprang into flight as we approached.  Herons and oystercatchers live happily together along the shore.  Gulls will try to chase herons, much to their annoyance and screech their disapproval.

A lone curlew catches Brendan’s attention.  He takes a closer look with the binoculars.  It has a distinctive long curved bill.  My Little book of Birdwatching comes in handy.  A few blackbirds dart into the hedgerows, taking shelter for the winter.  I was delighted to see a group of the Brent Geese sheltering behind Ballyhenry Island.  They had ventured down the coastline from Newtownards.  They looked fat and their white under bellies were high lighted in the low sunshine.  I can expect them soon to be feeding near the bottom of our garden.

A large bird dropped speedily into a field nearby.  It later perched on the top branch of a tree in the hedge row in the distance.  We could see markings on the back feathers.  We knew it was a bird of prey, but which one?  I looked up my Little Book.  It was a female kestrel.

The ultimate visitor was a seal diving into the seaweed offshore.  This area must be his territory.  We have met him before.

All of us were enjoying the unexpected warm morning.   Brendan and I returned home uplifted, thankful for the beauty of creation around us.  I had braced myself for a cold wind with hat, scarf and gloves.   But no, it was a pleasant, warm, bright morning down by the sea.  Unlike John Masefield’s description of his going down to the sea in his poem  ” Sea Fever”.

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

Thank you for sharing my walk down by the sea.

“All creation rightly gives you praise.”

Testimony Tuesday. Healed of a Murmur in my Heart.

Today I was reading in Exodus 18 v 26.  God revealed himself to the people of Israel as “I am The Lord who heals you.”

I have always been interested in the subject of healing.  When I was a child I suffered from Rheumatic Fever.   Streptococcus infected my joints and heart.  I was treated by a specialist doctor who found a murmur in my heart, a weakness left by the infection.  I spent many weeks in bed with my condition when I was young.

Many questions went through my mind?  Why was I sick?  We lived in the country in N Ireland and seldom had to attend a doctor’s surgery.  Non of my siblings were sick.  I was oblivious to the seriousness of my condition.  I desired to be healed.  I wanted to get better and get back to school.  It would have been easy for me or my parents to be fearful or panic, thinking I may never get better.  I had to learn to be patient.

At church I would have heard stories about Jesus healing the sick.  A seed was sown in my heart then.  Could I be healed?  Yes I did recover from the infection but was left with a weak heart.  The infection did damage to a valve in my heart.

There are many different therapies and philosophies that claim to bring healing.  Usually one has to pay someone for his treatment.  Jesus heals us freely.  There is a story in the scriptures about a woman who spent all her money.

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. (‭Mark‬ ‭5‬:‭25-26‬ NIV)

When I was having my first child I was admitted to hospital to rest.  There was concern for me because of the murmur in my heart, which could affect my strength in giving birth.  Thank God I delivered a healthy baby girl and I had no complications.  God must have healed my heart because I went on to have 13 more children, when the doctors recommended I should only have two.

Over the years I have studied the scriptures and have found that God desires for people to know that he will heal us.  Sickness is a work of the Devil.  The purpose Jesus came on earth was to destroy the works of the Devil.  1 John 3 v 8.  I believe God heals today.  I often pray for people to be healed.  I do not hear the result of everyone I have prayed for.  But when I do get feedback I am encouraged to continue.  God has given me a gift to pray for the sick.

I believe, because Jesus told his disciples to lay hands on the sick and they will get well.  Mark 16 v 18.  I obey Jesus and lay hands on the sick.  It is God who gives the power to heal and the outcome belongs to God.  He gets the glory.  My faith in God’s healing power has grown since he healed me from Cancer.

Jesus heals our broken hearts, whether they are damaged physically or emotionally.  He gives us joy instead of saddness.  I now seek opportunities to pray for the sick.  To anyone today who is reading this article and needs healed I would like to pray for you.

Thank you God, Father in heaven I read in your word today that you are The Lord who heals. Thank you for sending your son Jesus on earth to heal all diseases.  He died on the cross and suffered and by his stripes we are healed.  Thank you for healing me from fourth stage cancer.  I pray in Jesus name for ( mention your name) that your power will touch him today to heal him of his disease.  Thank you Father God for hearing my prayer today.

From Geography Class to seeing the Niagara Falls

I visited the Niagara Falls on a recent trip to Canada.
When we approached to town of Niagara I could see the cloud of mist that rises up from the Horseshoe Falls. I got excited. I have heard about this feature many times. I remember first hearing about the Niagimageara Falls over fifty years ago. I attended a country school in Co Down in N Ireland. I was standing with other pupils around a map of the world with our primary school teacher. We were having a geography lesson.
Here is photograph I captured on my iPad.  I have a bird’s eye view.

I get to see the Niagara Falls when my thirteenth grandchild is born.

My son dropped my friend and I off at a viewing point. Opposite I could see the American Falls. Then upriver is the bigger Canadian Falls or Horseshoe Falls. What power and beauty in these tumbling waters.
I could not but praise The Lord, the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/photography-101-water/

 

 

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