Posts Tagged ‘israel’

“Pray For The Peace Of Jerusalem: They Shall Prosper That Love Thee” (Psalm 122v6)

May 12, 2021

Returning from a quiet walk down a country lane behind our home, I viewed the green fields and the blue sea on the far horizon and thought of my daughter far away in Tel Aviv and how much she loved this scenery. Later back home something made me look at my phone, which was on silent. Immediately I felt led to pick it up and saw that it was ringing. “Tel Aviv” flashed up on the screen. It was my daughter, distraught and telling me about the attacks on this city where she is currently living.

They are just two hours ahead of us and at that stage darkness had fallen there. Dusk turned into night here in Ireland and neither my husband nor I got much sleep last night as we were on the phone to her much of the time, with the horrific noise of rockets, sirens and a multitude of frightened voices in the background. Neither she nor her neighbours in the flat complex had managed to get to the shelter in time and they were sitting together on the stairwell; many children were there too.

I would never have imagined some years ago, that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict would affect me personally but when someone you love is in danger, you pray night and day – and you pray with all your heart. “When it comes to the end times,” I remember an old preacher saying, “Keep your eyes upon Israel.” It’s a modern day news story which is as old as the hills. Today I pray for the peace of Jerusalem, in the knowledge that true and lasting peace can only come about when hearts have been consecrated to the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us. How we long for that glorious Day described in Revelation 21… “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Verses 2&3)

Yes, how I long for that day… and yet I pray for souls to be ready for it. As darkness falls once more tonight, I pray on for my daughter in that situation; the Lord knows that there are only so many nights we can go without proper sleep. As I look at terrible scenes of people in pain, people mourning and devastated by the death of loved ones, murder, mayhem, rioting and destruction, I know that some day it shall be no more. Oh that men and women would be ready for that Day when “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21v3)

This Past Year Has Been Something of a Revelation

May 1, 2021

I know that I have touched on this subject many times before but sometimes we become so increasingly bewildered by attitudes that we feel that it must be “aired” again. Actually it has been going on for far more than a year now – the reality and horror of this global pandemic. I know that there are aspects of my personal life which will never ever be the same again because of it and there have been revelations about people and situations which are shocking, to be honest. I believe what continues to shock me most is the lack of love and caring for other people amongst some professing Christian circles and churches.

While thousands lie dying on the streets outside hospitals, across the world and especially in India, some “Christians” in western societies continue to sarcastically call it a “scamdemic” or a “plandemic.” The sad reality is that it is very often Christians who appear to be deceived by online conspiracy theories, which indicates that these people spend more time online than studying their Bibles. They totally ignore the situation; many strangely don’t even talk about it and they don’t pray for people who are dying physically and spiritually all across the world. In fact it would appear that they just don’t care. It’s not just about the virus… deaths from cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses will be very much on the increase because the situation has slowed up the process by which people get early medical attention. I have personal experience of this. We need to pray for people and situations, if we claim to be Christians.

Jesus, as He walked this earth, had compassion on people. In life He loved them and He cared for their spiritual and physical well-being and while drawing His last breathe He still witnessed to the sinners who hung beside him. How different are the selfish materialistic lives of those who claim to be His followers today. In His own words… “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Luke 9v58) Where are the “Christ-like,” selfless people who love the Lord in these terrible days?

Instead of asking the Lord “Is there anything I can do to help?” many are moaning and complaining like the Children of Israel in the wilderness – and most have a lot less to complain about than the Children of Israel, for they have a “fixed abode” and “manna” is certainly not their staple diet. I hear so much talk about “rights” in the days in which we live, even amongst professing Christians but few talk about their responsibilities. We are responsible, if we call ourselves Christians, to be law-abiding, caring, upright citizens in this decadent world.

“Do all things without murmuring and disputings; That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2v15)

When we see the world behaving badly, being defiant and breaking the law, it is to be expected but sadly in the days in which we live, there are sometimes more loving and caring attitudes amongst people who don’t even call themselves Christians.

“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Matthew 24v42) This chapter goes on to talk of what happens the servant who is unprepared for His coming again. “The Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24v50&51)

And He is coming again, despite what many say! We have so much to pray about in these days, between unsaved acquaintances and loved ones and personal and global situations. One of my daughters who lives there, told me that Israel is presently suffering from a plague of locusts which is ruining their crops; no sooner has the virus lessened, than another problem arises. Also, yesterday I learned about a mass stampede at a religious festival in Northern Israel which has killed and injured many people. These are days in which we can use our awareness of situations to speak to others about their need of salvation and if the people who claim to know the Lord can’t show love and deep care for a world of suffering and lost souls – who will?

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of men.” (Matthew 5v13)

 Jesus also said: “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”  (Revelation 22v12)

Dreaming of Lovely Holiday Destinations – but Heaven is More Beautiful than these…

January 16, 2021

I haven’t seen one of my daughters for quite a long time as she has been living and working in Israel. Not so long ago she forwarded me a beautiful video of the beach where she walked every day after work. The setting sun was reflected in the rippling sea and for a moment I felt like I was in a different world – a Covid free world!  The gentle tide slipping in over the clean sandy beach reminded me of happy days on other beaches – some far closer to home. It was a pleasant experience to be momentarily transported to another time and another place and to reminisce on the carefree days of childhood.

There were very few people around thankfully and the reality is that it isn’t so warm over there just yet but the big reality is that Israel, which is a small but densely populated country, has been (and continues to be) badly afflicted by the virus, even though they have an excellent health service. I had just finished writing this when I got a message from my daughter to say that she must isolate for two weeks as a contact had tested positive and later there was another message to say that she too had tested positive (yet again) which concerned me greatly. I felt powerless (and I am powerless) to do anything about this as we are thousands of miles apart but praise God I can pray.

I later took a stroll down fields behind our home and in the distance could see on the horizon our own cold blue Irish Sea and even though it was bitterly cold, I heard the birds singing a “different” song – the song they sing when spring is on the way and I noticed too that the days are noticeably lengthening.

In the midst of all these gloomy January days, concern for loved ones (including cousins who are ill with the virus) and the shocking news that my own country’s growth rate of infection is currently the worst in Europe, it is so mentally uplifting and encouraging to meditate on life’s more pleasant days – and the possibility of happy times in the future.

I couldn’t help but think of a spiritual analogy here. As we journey through this life, how marvellous and what a relief to have the knowledge that (whatever we have to go through here) when we love and follow the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, there is not just the  possibility but there is the certainty of not just “pleasant” but gloriously joyful days ahead in His Presence forevermore. “…Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1Corinthians 2v9)

I was recently overjoyed by the simple pleasure of being shown a tiny primrose which had somehow managed to push its way out of the hard cold earth. The promise of new life and growth had manifested itself from winter’s cold death and I felt optimistically a “touch of spring,” in the sure and certain knowledge that whatever happens, brighter days are ahead for those who love and know Him.

And most of all we want the promise of this great joy to be the portion of every living soul we come in contact with. “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2v21) (Joel 2v32)

….”for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8v10) “…Jesus beheld them and said unto them, with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19v26)

A Time to Pray

September 26, 2020

On this sunny autumn day, I took a walk down to an old familiar sycamore tree that I’ve always loved. Over the years I have often sat alone under this tree in this quiet place to pray. Today I prayed for my children and loved ones – both at home in Ireland and others far away. I prayed for one presently living and working in Israel who messaged me this week to say that she was unwell from the virus. Apart from serious health diagnoses in our own lives and in the lives of those who are close to us, this has been one of the most challenging times some of us have ever had to face….

I don’t leave it for a long time before looking once again at the Worldometer live statistics regarding the spread of Coronavirus. In some countries it would be appearing to be gathering worrying momentum, while in others it is a slight but steady rise – but few have eradicated it. The reason for not leaving it for a long time, from a personal point of view, is so that the shock won’t be too great. Also, as Christians we need to be aware and to take stock of situations in order to pray about them effectively. The Lord has allowed this situation to come about; mankind is the cause of its own downfall and unfortunately whether it is rain or plagues, they fall “on the just and the unjust.” I hear complaints about masks and lockdown but I hear no one talking about the judgement of God. And I hear of no organised prayer meetings (with the permitted number of people, adhering to present legislation) being held in respect of this serious worldwide situation.

In days gone by I remember whole days of prayer being held on specific serious issues but these days Christians are strangely not even speaking about it. Why is there so little prayer about a situation where people are not only dying from this virus – but because of it? The reality is that people are dying on waiting lists for other health issues concerning heart problems and cancer etc…. and the terrible reality is that many are not ready to meet the Lord.

To preach (as I’ve heard some do) that government legislation to curb the spread of this disease is “persecution” is ridiculous. Sadly, many who profess to be Christians have shown a very poor example at this time and indeed I believe that because of rebellion and unacceptance of the reality of a horrific situation which is affecting millions of souls, friction and disagreement have been stirred up by those who should know better. Surely they realise that some good things have happened because of lockdowns…. Less socialising in those places which displease the Lord, less access to drugs and less promiscuity.

Has the Lord put it in your heart to reach others by some means? This is a time to stay close to Him, to be aware and to seek His direction for the future when things will open up again. We need to work with situations and not fly in the face of something which has been allowed by God.

It has been said that “Coronavirus has not gone away because we have got tired of it.” There is a work for every child of God in even seemingly impossible situations – to write, to communicate, to encourage and to pray. How our loved ones, neighbours and acquaintances need our prayers! Life is precious and every moment the Lord gives us needs to be lived to His glory.

This is also a time to show example by complying with the advice given by health authorities. Just because something has not been made mandatory – doesn’t mean that we should disregard guidelines. I have never worn a mask because I am afraid of the virus, although who wants to get a virus? I wear a mask in situations where it is possible that I may unknowingly pass this on to a vulnerable person who may not survive it. How can I call myself a Christian and not care about the physical or spiritual welfare of my contacts? No one is immune from this virus or from spreading it. Those who name the Name of Christ should care about their fellow travellers in this life, whatever their profession of faith, which is why I don’t understand the reluctance of many to wear a mask to prevent spread of the disease. If you think that this is tantamount to “faith over fear,” then why bother with the flu vaccine and other health precautions?

Some day Coronavirus will be no more. Will we look back on this period of history (if the world continues for much longer) as a time when the shameful perpetuating of conspiracy theories has eaten up professing Christians – or will it be viewed as a time when something pure and new is born in the hearts of those whose desire is to be consecrated to the Lord, to be ever closer to Him and to reach others? “…the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” (Daniel 11v32)

This is a time to lift our hearts to the Lord and pray. Potentially there is much to be anxious about, when we think of what is going on in the lives of loved ones but the Bible tells us to “be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4v6)

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” (Ecclesiastes 3)

On Anniversaries, Broken Ceasefires – and an Unfailing Promise

August 31, 2014

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In the last few days I have been reflecting on an assorted selection of anniversaries.  This week will mark twenty years since the IRA declared a ceasefire on the first day of September 1994. Especially significant this year is the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War; a global war that began on 28th July 1914 and lasted until 11th September 1918. This terrible war sadly took the lives of 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians.

On a personal level, I have been thinking about anniversaries too. This month marked our 29th wedding anniversary – and next year, Lord willing, we will celebrate our 30th. How those years have flown!

Just some days ago, on 28th August, I remember writing up my diary and thinking just for an instant… ‘Now this date is very significant in my life, but why?’ And then I remembered straight away… that date during the week marked the 36th anniversary of my coming to know the Lord as Saviour, back on the bank holiday evening of Monday 28th August, 1978.

Many people, having taken this life-changing step of faith, have never noted the date or the time but they remember for sure the moment that it happened; they remember how and where it happened and most importantly they remember the events, especially the conviction leading up to this most important moment in their lives.

Sadly many testimonies today lack that element of conviction of sin and all too sadly ‘easy believism’ has become the order of the day, leading to a shallow experience – if indeed it is an experience.

I remember a line of an old hymn: “Oh Jesus I have promised to serve thee to the end…” A decision to follow the Lord is serious, life-changing and should be eternity changing. I remember once someone telling me that it was going to be a certain special anniversary in her marriage shortly – but that marriage had sadly ended when she had left her husband some years previously, so she added distantly… “I suppose our anniversary no longer counts.”

How many other promises are broken in the secular world too; we have only to look at broken promises and ceasefire violations in the current Israeli/Palestinian conflict and indeed in our own country when it emerged that new weapons were being developed after that declared ceasefire.

Surely only the Lord can change a man or a woman or a nation of individuals to be those steadfast people of substance and honesty that He would have them to be?

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2Corinthians 5v17)

“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1Corinthians 6v19&20)

His desire is that every soul’s experience in Him would be genuine – and He wants each new anniversary in our walk with Him to be more precious as the years unfold with all their unknown challenges.

Only the Lord Jesus can make wars and man’s inhumanity to man to cease upon the earth and He has promised those who faithfully follow Him that… “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John 15v7). Surely… “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Proverbs 4v18)

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Thoughts on Hippocrates – and the Greatest Physician Ever

October 17, 2012

A recent comment (which shocked me) about a young person who was given sleeping tablets after just one consultation stirred my memories of Kos and the day that I stood by the statue of Hippocrates in a park in Kos town. (By a strange coincidence on that day I also found two Israeli coins lying in that park close to the statue!) Often referred to as ‘the father of modern medicine,’ Hippocrates was born on the island of Kos somewhere between 430 and 370 BC. and made his living as a travelling physician. Today Hippocrates is mostly known for the ‘Hippocratic Oath,’ various versions of which are still taken by modern-day doctors all over the world.

Confidentiality and care of the patient were said to be most important to Hippocrates and it is also said that his medical care was gentle on his patients. Hippocrates was the first to argue that disease was not ‘a punishment from the gods,’ but rather caused by the environment, diet or living habits of his patients and today it is recognised that he made several major contributions to modern medicine.

But a few hundred years later and a few hundred of miles from the island of Kos, the Lord Jesus Christ was born into this world – the Greatest Physician and Counsellor that any individual could ever have the joy to meet! He cared deeply for His creation – and He still does; He cares for me – and He cares for you… “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1Peter 5v7)

Yet, even if we love Him and belong to Him, we are not immune to the prevailing conditions in this tainted world. I have heard it said that doctors nowadays seem to turn to their computers, the minute that their patient walks into the surgery! You may be just another face to them in their long day of listening to a catalogue of ailments – but rest assured that there is One who truly cares about your pain and for your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Your tears are important to Him and your health is important to Him, whoever you are and whatever your situation.

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” (Matthew 4v23)

This sickness, we learn, was not confined to those who disobeyed God, or as a consequence of personal sin, or worse still – the sins of their parents. The disciples questioned Jesus: “who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered with these words: “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9v2&3)

Today we have “health, wealth and prosperity” cults telling us that we must have all three attributes. I wonder what they think of Timothy’s “oft infirmities?” (1 Timothy 5v23)… Or the fact that Jesus Himself “had not where to lay His head?” (Luke 9v58)

Today I praise Him and look to Him for the riches that count… those spiritual riches of contentment under all circumstances, for surely He is “the God of all comfort?” (2Cor. 1v3)

If you are suffering today, Jesus knows all about it: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4v15)

Praise God that when we as Christians suffer, we can have much more of a rapport with our fellowmen and women who have perhaps had the same health diagnosis as we have had…

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2Cor. 1v3&4)

However, if you have never trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, my prayer is that today you will do so, for when sickness comes your way (as it does for everyone, whatever their spiritual status) that Great Physician and Father of mercies will comfort you and carry you through to journey’s end, where you will be able to say with all who love Him: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Cor. 15v55-57