The Good Weather

I notice postings on Facebook from family and friends is slow recently. Is it because the good weather back home in Northern Ireland has enticed folk to enjoy activities outdoors?
The warmth of the sun is comforting all of creation. It brings life after the cold and darkness of the winter season. It is freely given.

The Lord’s face is likened to the sun. In Numbers Aaron and his sons were to command a blessing on the people of Israel.

““ ‘ “The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
The LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ’”
‭‭Numbers‬ ‭6:24-26‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
Then we will not turn away from you;
revive us, and we will call on your name.
Restore us, LORD God Almighty;
make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭80:17-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God knows our frame. He knows we are but dust. If he takes our breathe away we would die. We need to see his goodness in the land of the living. God will not fail those who look to him for bread. This scripture has been a great comfort and brought me hope in the past when I was busy or feeling discouraged.

“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭27:13-14‬ ‭KJV‬‬

God is good. He is faithful. He has compassion on all he has made.

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.

Paths of Peace

Brendan and I were visiting a friend today.

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In her garden is an ancient olive tree.  It has a knarled and thick trunk. There are young trees springing up around the trunk from olive seeds that took root.  The olive tree is symbol of peace.  When invaders conquered a region in ancient times they cut down the trees.  This olive tree has remained standing.

Here is the view out the front of her home.

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Her garden is a peaceful place, a little bit of heaven on earth.  As I walked through the garden and discovered the olive tree and took in the beautiful view,  I was reminded of some verses from Proverbs,

“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.

She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.

Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.

Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:13-18‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Today I was walking along paths of pleasantness and peace.

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.

The First Gleam of Dawn

Where I live the sun rises over the hill and forest to my left.  It’s light reflects off the water in Srangford Lough, brightens and warms our home.  It may be blowing a gale outside but the glow from the sun warms, not only my kitchen but my heart as well.  I am reminded of the verse in Proverbs 4: 18,

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The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.

One may have had a sleepless night. Worries, anxiety, pain, stress, loneliness may loom large in the night. It cheers my heart when I see the sun rise in the morning. Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.

This verse is in the middle of Proverbs that give wisdom to the reader, whether young or old.

My children listen to me.  Listen to your father’s instruction.  Pay attention and grow wise, for I am giving you good guidance.  Proverbs 4 v 1 NLT

My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s teaching.  Keep their words always in your heart.  For these commands and this teaching are a lamp to light the way ahead of you.  The correction of discipline is the way to life.  Proverbs 6 v 20 NLT

As we drove home last night I saw many young people walking the streets of a village nearby. These young were like sheep without a shepherd.

When our own children were that age, my husband and I realised the difficulties they faced. When young people get together without guidance, taking drugs, drinking and immorality become the norm. I did not have my fourteen children to be born for misfortune. The devil is out to rob steal and destroy.  I am not willing to give up my children without a fight.

We had a meeting on a Friday night for our children and their friends. We taught them the way of truth and gave thanks and praise to God who helps us.

Those years when my boys were teenagers were difficult for me. I developed fourth stage colon cancer. I was dying. But God had a plan for me to live and not die. He healed me.  I am alive to pray for my children.

I read in the Psalm 30 today these words.

I will exalt you, LORD, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health. You brought me up from the grave, O LORD. You kept me from falling into the pit of death.
“What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness?

You have turned my mourning into dancing.  I will sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever! (‭Psalms‬ ‭30‬:‭1-3, 9, 12‬ NLT)

God is real.  He interested in our daily lives.  He is interested in a mother’s cry for her children. Mothers, our destiny with God is to crush Satan under our feet.  Let my people go to worship God, Moses cried out.

The God who causes the sun to rise every morning healed me from cancer.  He will help me at break of dawn.

Search and Rescue.

Last evening I returned on the ferry from Strangford to Portaferry.  It was a dark, cold and blustery night.  I was comfortable in my warm car and looking forward to a glowing coal fire back home.  The men who keep the ferry service going are to be commended for their endurance in these winter months.

Portaferry is usually quiet, but this evening as the boat pulled into port, green and red lights were flashing and sirens were going off at the lifeboat house.  Someone instructed the ferry to wait offshore.  There was an emergency at sea and the lifeboat had to be launched.  More brave men headed off seaward into the dark in answer to some distress call.  The ferry docked safely.  We all secretly hoped others would be safe tonight and prayed.

An hour later I noticed an helicopter overhead and the lifeboat in the lough.  Both has search lights scanning the water below.  A vehicle had blue lights flashing.  Brendan and I went down to the shore.  A police vehicle stopped with us and told us a flair at sea had been reported earlier.  The lifeboat responded as did a rescue helicopter from Dublin, to help search the sea for anyone in danger.

It was dramatic to see the large search light scanning the lough.  A large area of the water lit up in the dark.  Someone in danger would be glad of this light shining on them.  Life or death.  The  helicopter remained for some time.  What a good job the men on the rescue services do. They are willing to give of their time and skills to help others.

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Dramas often happen in our life that cause fear and anxiety.  Sometimes it seems we are on a stormy sea when troubles come.   I needed rescued five years ago.  I had fourth stage cancer.  I was dying.  I went through dark days but God brought me through them.  Jesus shone his light on me and rescued me up out of the sea of despair and death.  Jesus is the light of the world.  He healed me and gave me new life.  He will rescue you.  He is searching for you with his light.

I slept late this morning.  Oh how sweet sleep is when one awakes rested and secure.  My  husband brought me my breakfast in bed!

The room was brighter than normal.  The sunlight was shining on Strangford Lough.  The light from the sun and its reflection on the water brightened up our home and gave added warmth.  We have our own micro climate.  The weather reports on the radio don’t seem to apply to us.

What a good day to wake up to.  The drama of the previous evening was forgotten.  A brighter light shone this morning.  I checked the BBC news.  There was no report of people being rescued or anyone missing.

The moon will be as bright as the sun, and the sun will be seven times brighter—like the light of seven days in one!  So it will be when the LORD begins to heal his people and cure the wounds he gave them. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭30‬:‭26‬ NLT)

There is a saying,”The darkest hour is just before dawn”.   Only believe.  Hang in there.  Light and rescue are on the way.

Sun, Sea and Sand in Zakynthos

The sun sets over the hill to the west on the last evening of our holiday in Zakynthos.  Shadows are cast along the shore as the sun beds are folded away and umbrellas are pulled down.  Footprints in the soft sand are a sign of the many people that have passed this way today.

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The cool of the evening is very welcome after a hot day.  I believe anyone coming to this beach will leave rested, healed, beautified, blessed, rejuvenated, refreshed and restored.

He leads me beside still waters to restore my soul.  I thank God I am alive to enjoy the goodness of God in the land of the Living.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.   (‭Psalm‬ ‭23‬:‭2-3‬ NIV)

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (‭Psalms‬ ‭27‬:‭13‬ KJV)

We have met people from different nationalities, German, Russian, English, Greek, and Austrian.  We have met young and old, from the babies and toddlers to the two eighty something year old couples that were our neighbors at the poolside.  We could not communicate but we all were enjoying the warmth of the sun on our bodies in the silence.

A swim in the sea is welcome to cool our bodies.  It is no effort to swim in the salty, still, shallow waters.  The young and not so young, able bodied and not so able bodied, buxom and slim alike, bodies modestly covered and others less well covered take a dip.

This is a favorite beach not only for sunbathers but also for Turtles.  The females lay their eggs high up on the beach in May and the young hatch out in October.

Earlier today our friend brought us to a faviourite restaurant, high above the town of Zakynthos.  We enjoyed the glorious view, the red roofed houses below, and the blue bay shimmering in the sunshine beyond.  A Ferryboat from the Greek mainland announces it’s arrival into the harbor with a loud horn blast.  We watch it dock.  Other boats are dwarfed by this new Ferry.

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For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (‭Habakkuk‬ ‭2‬:‭14‬ NIV)

We return from this haven to the hear of the turmoil in the nations.  A new Labour leader has been elected and some countries of Europe close their borders to Immigrants.

I will keep looking to Jesus, like Peter in the storm.  He could walk on the water as long as he fixed his eyes on Jesus.

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. (‭Matthew‬ ‭14‬:‭28-29‬ NIV)