Whale And Bird Watching

On the whale watch off Boston, I saw a hump back whale flip it’s tail and descend into the depths of the sea to catch its prey.

Before my trip to Massachusetts I noticed a couple of Swallows nesting in the eves of our barn. The Brent Geese have left but the Swallow has arrived. The Swallow is a tiny bird in comparison but it has just completed a 3000 mile trip from Africa. They have arrived in Ireland to rear their young.

I have just made a 3000 mile trip from Dublin to Boston. I have come to Boston in the springtime! The area around Boston is called New England. I wonder why? I soon found out as I travel around this area. Many people left Eurpoe over the past four hundred years in search of a new life in Northern America. The Irish came to America fleeing famine, poverty and war. It is surprising how the territory looks like The British Isles, similar lands, trees and birds, and similar seasons. The gardens around have similar plants to the ones back home. Many villages around here are called, Glouster, Dover, Portsmouth, Antrim, Manchester, Belfast.etc.

People can now fly to the New Land where many, many years ago only the birds could reach. Our hostess loves birds. She is from England. She leaves out food for them. All sorts of birds and creatures arrive to partake of the feast. Two Red Squirrels, Grey Squirrels , tiny Chipmonks, ducks, Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Sparrows, to mention only a few, feed outside. I watch this little zoo at breakfast time. I look up in the sky and there are swallows here too. They fly here from warmer climates in South America.

Brendan and I were priveged to go on a whale watch off the coast of Boston. Different whales come north to feeding grounds off the east coast of New England. There are Minke, Humpback and Blue whale. We were told to look out for water spouts. This was spray released when the whale comes up for air. I was very excited when I saw a geyser of water in the distance. We were in whale territory! The boat slowed down. A mother humpback whale and her calf were swimming nearby. What big creatures! I marveled at these beautiful mammals as I followed them gliding through the water. Then the mother dived underwater as she flipped her tail. Many whales are recognized by the pattern on the tail. The people who take us for the whale watch have given a name to each new whale and keep a record of sightings. I thought of a scripture verse referring to the whale from Psalm 104

“O Lord, what a variety of things you have made!
In wisdom you have made them all.
The earth is full of your creatures.
Here is the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind, both large and small.
See the ships sailing along, and the whale which you made to frolic in the sea.
They all depend on you to give them food as they need it.
When you supply it, they gather it.
You open your hand to feed them, and they are richly satisfied.
May the glory of the Lord continue forever! The Lord takes pleasure in all he has made!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭104:24-28, 31‬ ‭NLT‬‬

On the whale watch on Thursday, a tiny bird landed on the boat. It wasn’t afraid to come close to people. It landed on a lady’s jumper. It was a Wilson’s Warbler, indigenous to North America. It is like our sparrow. It was on its way north to breeding grounds from the south. It had been blown off course. In the local Amsbury newspaper there was an article that said migration of birds was delayed this year to Massachusetts because of bad weather.
The Lord knows when a sparrow falls to the ground.

Outside the boat I could see one of the biggest creatures on earth and on the boat one of the smallest creatures. What a contrast and both are cared for by God.

The humpback whale dived, flipped its tail goodbye and began to descend again. Our boat turned for shore.

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

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/

Be an Expert in Prayer

If one is in any kind of trouble he wants someone who is an expert in that area to help.  If your car breaks down you call a mechanic.  If you have a burst pipe in the house you call the plumber.  If the electric wires are not working you call an electrician.  You don’t call a plumber to fix the electrics.  If you need a house built you call a builder.  If you need to sell your house you call someone who can market your house.  If you need legal advice you call a lawyer.

If one’s body is the trouble he calls the doctor.  The doctors can help by diagnosing his disease.  He will give his professional advice and prescribe drugs or advise surgery if necessary. It is marvellous the advances in medical care in the 21st century in the west and we get to benefit from it.

I discovered in my research, that people who have cancer in Russia do not have the expertise in health care we can avail of here in the United Kingdom. What can they do?  What about people in third world countries who do not have medical care?

I realised early on in my journey through cancer that the doctors helped in my diagnosis and recommended radiotherapy and radiotherapy, then an operation.  At no time did they offer a complete cure.  I went along with their treatment but in my heart I was sad because I didn’t want to have part of my body cut away.

image

I looked for another way.  Was there any other expert that could offer me complete healing.   I read about Jesus in the bible.  He healed all people who had all kinds of diseases.  I also found out God gives experts in the Church who have different gifts to help the people.  Some people have the gift of healing.  So if one is sick call the experts in healing.  Call those who believe in God, who know how to pray, and help spiritually to bring healing to the mind and body.

Call people who believe God answers prayer, people who believe that God heals.  People who already have experienced healing.  One wants to be around those who have faith and who love and help one through the days of loneliness, fear, and sickness.

For one day I had the symptoms of sickness and wretching, side effects from having treatment from chemotherapy and radiotherapy.  Wretching alone made me feel weak and fearful.  My body and mind could not take any more pain.  I passed out.  During that morning two people rang me.  One lady felt The Lord prompted her to ring me and pray for me.

Knowing God alerted someone who knew how to pray comforted me.  She prayed for me and she brought me peace.  My niece rang me and said God told her to ring me and pray for me.  He told her to remind me it was God who taught me to pray.  Again I was overwhelmed with God’s love for me.  He sent help.  I am so thankful God preserved me from pain, burning and sickness.

Fear of death can overwhelm the cancer sufferer.  It can leave one with no courage to fight.  So one lies down under the sickness and loses the will to live.  I had been bleeding for three years from my colon but I thought it would go away.  I thought the blood could be coming from heamoroids or colitis.  I believed that God can heal and have prayed for others who have been healed.  At no time did I think of cancer.

I eventually came to realise my condition was not improving, but getting worse, I told my husband.  I needed others to help me.  We went to the hospital.  The doctor examined me and referred me on to the oncology specialist.  It seemed I had cancer.  I was numb and was relieved that my condition was discovered.  I now knew the truth.  I was too weak to care.  I had no fight left.  I was not in control any more.  I was now dependant on the help of experts, the doctors to diagnose the condition and those who believe that God heals.

The news hit my husband and children hard.  They were sad but not hopeless or overwhelmed.  They loved Mum and didn’t want me to die.  They believed God would come to our aid in my time of despair.  They gathered around me the first night and prayed for my healing.  My family arose as an army to fight fear, cancer and death.  The war was on.  They became experts at praying.

We were in a spiritual battle.  When someone comes into your house to steal your property will you stand by and let them steal it?   No you will put up a fight to put the robber out or call the police for help.  So it was with my family.  The devil was bringing cancer and death to their mum to steal her away from them.  They believed God and spoke God’s promise over my life that I shall not die and by the stripes of Jesus I am healed

Scriptures say the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (‭John‬ ‭10‬:‭10‬ NIV)

Jesus was referring to the evil one,  the Devil who comes to kill.   The Devil is a spiritual being and one cannot fight him physically.  But we can fight him and defeat him with Gods spiritual weapons of war.  Jesus came on earth to destroy the works of the Devil.  He preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God, for people to turn to God away from sin and He would forgive their sins and heal their diseases.  He died on the cross and shed his Blood.  If we accept his sacrifice we will be healed.  By his stripes we are healed.

The weapons to defeat Satan are faith in God, speaking out the Name of Jesus, and saying the Blood of Jesus is against you Satan and walking in peace, forgiving others as Jesus has forgiven us our sins.

If I am in trouble I want to call someone who is an expert at praying and who knows how to pray to God and get results.  I needed prayer warriors who were not afraid of the enemy and had the right weapons and armour to win the battle.  As news of my trouble spread people prayed for me.

After my family prayed for me, the bleeding stopped within a week.  The battle was on and my family was winning.  The healing from Cancer began.

God promises to be with us in trouble.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. (‭Psalm‬ ‭91‬:‭14-15‬ NIV)

If I am sick I want to call someone who is an expert at praying for my healing.

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

Ireland is on Fire

The temperature map for us today looks like Ireland is on Fire.

imageIn my last blog I talked about the summer weather in Ireland being unpredictable. It surely is. It is forecast today to be the hottest day of the year. A few days ago I was drenched with rain in Killarney and Galway.
Last night there was a full moon. It’s light dazzled and reflected off the water of Strangford Lough outside our window. Such a beautiful view before I closed my eyes to sleep.
I read a notice the other day. It said “When the storm clouds come live life. Dance in the rain and have joy.”  Perhaps that is why the Irish are known all over the world for dancing.  Remember Riverdance?

May Ireland not only be ablaze with sunshine today but let us take hope that God will set us on fire with his love, healing and pour out his Holy Spirit on us today.

Let us enjoy this day. Rejoice in The Lord always.

I Shall see my Children’s Children.

I am alive to see my children’s children.

“Blessed is every one that fears the Lord; that walks in his ways.
For you shalt eat the labour of your hands: happy you will be, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife shall be as a fruitful vvine within your house: your children like olive plants round about your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed that fears the Lord.
The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
Yes you will see your children’s children, and peace upon Israel.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭128:1-6‬ ‭KJV‬‬

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People often ask me why Brendan and I had fourteen children.  We believe that children are a blessing from The Lord the fruit of the womb a reward.  Blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them.  You can find this promise in Psalm 127.  Friends and family celebrated with us when we had our first children.  As our family increased our friends became fewer.  No cards arrived to congratulate or celebrate with us as the last children were born.   My husband and children gathered around the hospital bed to see their new brother or sister and celebrate the new blessing God had sent us.  Ten little tiny fingers and ten little tiny toes were caressed.
Each baby boy has grown into a man.  Each baby girl has grown into a young woman.  Some have children of their own now.

“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children born in one’s youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, when we meet with our enemies in the gate.  Psalm 127

We were eager to receive blessings from God. This is the perfect gift.  What could be better?  To receive gifts from God Almighty, who created the heaven and the earth and reigns in heaven over all the earth.  A child is a gift from our Father in heaven.  I trusted God who gave us our children to help Brendan and I to look after them.

God gave me the strength to carry and give birth naturally and safely to each one.  The size of each baby varied from seven pounds to twelve pounds.  I did not have any assisted intervention of doctors.  God took away any fear or worry about having a child.  I thought if Mary, Jesus’s mother rode on a donkey from Nazereth to Jerusalem, seventy miles, it would be okay for me to travel if I needed to and live normally while I was pregnant.

Being pregnant is not a sickness.  I had my last child when I was forty five.  The doctors tried to put fear on me.  One said, Mrs Mc Cauley you are older now.  “There is a risk your child will have abnormalities.”  Another said “Your body Is like a car Mrs Mc Cauley.  It will break down and wear out.”  Yet another said “This poor, unfortunate woman is pregnant again.”  Their prophesies did not come about.  But God’s promise came about.  My children are blessed.  God has healed me and restored me after each child.  The word of God tells me in Exodus 20 that my children are blessed to the thousandth generation.
“but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
Exodus‬ ‭20:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

As I believe in Jesus he takes away the fear.  Yes there is pain, not only in having children, but also in rearing them.  I have found my help has come from God.  He is there in time of trouble.  Psalm 91 promises me he will deliver me out of every trouble.  I have experienced the truth of this word.
“He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭91:15‬ ‭KJV‬‬

In 2010 I suffered from fourth stage bowel cancer.  When one has fourth stage cancer there is not much hope of living long afterwards.  But God again has proved faithful.  He was with me in my trouble.  He completely healed me from cancer.   My children helped me through this time of difficulty.  As Psalm 127 says they will stand against my enemies in the gate.  When death came knocking on my door, my children stood with me.   All fourteen of my children and their grandchildren prayed for me.

Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭127:3, 5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Recently Brendan and I celebrated our forty fifth anniversary.  Our children and grandchildren visited with us.  We had a weekend of gratitude, joy and love.  The grandchildren enjoyed some water sports.

I believe I will live to see all my children’s children.

Honor and Worship God

How do we honor and worship God in our lives today.

I was listening to a recorded Christian Service on Radio Ulster on Sunday 19 th June 2016.  It was held in St George’s Church in Belfast to celebrate 200 years since it’s opening.

I enjoy singing praise songs to worship God on my own or sing along to a CD.  I attend small groups of people who gather to worship God.  In a small group, people can be shy to sing or to lift up their voices.  The pressure often is on the guitarist and singer to carry the worship meeting.  But the service I listened to on the radio was different from the small groups I am used to.

From St George’s the organ sounded and lifted up the choir’s voices.  When I listened to the organ blasting out the music it allowed for people to sing along whether they sung in tune or not, or whether they sang high or low.  I noticed that the speaker spoke clearly and loudly for all to hear.  It seemed as if the service was being help at another time in the past.  I wondered were the pews full of people on last Sunday.  We don’t know.  Perhaps when this church was dedicated all those years ago people gathered with enthusiasm to praise and thank The Lord and make loud noises with the organ and choir.

I was reminded of David’s psalm in 1 Chronicles 15 where it is describes how David had prepared himself and the people to bring the Ark of The Lord back to Jerusalem.  There were musicians and singers making music to celebrate the return of the Ark of the Covenant into the middle of  God’s people.

“David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to the place he had prepared for it.

David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.

Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at it.

So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts, with the sounding of rams’ horns and trumpets, and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps.”

‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭15:3, 16, 22, 28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

He appointed singers and music players to make loud noises to celebrate.   David danced like a mad man before the presence of The Lord and the people.  His wife rebuked him later for acting so foolishly.  She was left barren because of her complaint.  He was not ashamed to praise his God who delivered him in many situations in his life.

Today we dance to a different song than David of old.  You may be watching football matches.  The different supporters shout out their anthems for their teams.  They are not afraid to lift up their voices.  Their spirits are lifted and everyone waits in anticipation to see if their team wins.  The pop stars, U2, Beyoncé, Coldplay, Bruce Springstein or the Rolling Stones fill stadiums with people to hear their concerts.  The footballers and stars are millionaires because of the people’s worship of them.  People join along in the song and dance with their faviourite stars and pay a lot of money to attend.  Today do we show the same enthusiasm for our God as we do the pop stars or our football teams?  Do we give as much money to a minister of God as one gives at the ticket box for these shows.

Come let us return to The Lord.  Like David let us prepare our hearts and prepare a place for God to return into our midst and let us lift up our voices and music to praise and thank him.  Let us honor and worship God alone.

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.”