Saturday 27 March 2010

Finding an old thing as new.

I am sitting in front of my fire resting up, enjoying my Saturday evening listning to a recording of A W Tozer. It came free with a book called 'Fellowship of the Burning Heart''. He is long dead, died before I was born and yet because he is preaching the Truth what he says is as relivant to me today as it would have been over two thousand years ago. So far the preaching is very good and I am really looking forwards to reading the book. But, before that I really have to finish Spurgeon's 'Prayer and Spiritual Warfare' and Mark Dever's 'Twelve Challenges Churches Face'.

Have you read any of these?
What do you think of the authors?

Thursday 25 March 2010

Spurgeon on the ressurection...

(Our bodies) At present they are shriveled bulbs that will be put into the earth. But they will rise as glorious flowers, golden cups to hold the sunlight of Jehova's face.

Friday 19 March 2010

Poem... and a celebration of a Christian family

This is a poem about an American brother in the Lord called Jeff. He and his wife Jean and two children lived here in Dundalk with us for a few years. When they moved back to the US a friend/colleague wrote Jeff this poem. Enjoy:0)

Never Been to Ireland
By Sheila Stephenson Lindsey

O, me fine and handsome laddies,
bend an ear to me today
and listen quite intently
to what I’ve got to say.
Imagine on a hillside,
sitting quiet as the dew,
abiding in the green of it,
and takin’ in the view.
O, abiding in the green of it
and takin’ in the view.


Now, every time you play a tune
and every time you sing,
every line of poetry
that has an Irish ring….
reminds yourself of Ireland,
that home so far away.
Though you’ve never been to Ireland,
you know you’ll go someday…
Though you’ve never been to Ireland
you know you’ll go someday!

You see the Irish homeland
with it’s cottages in white.
You see the winding fences
and the ocean. What a sight!
You’ve memorized her sunset
and sweet Bonnie down the lane.
Though you’ve never been to Ireland,
your heart is there the same.
Though you’ve never been to Ireland
your heart is there the same.

-3-I wonder if I’ll live to make
the journey over there?
I hope to take me mother
and me brother, too, I swear.
I hope to take me sister
though she’s ugly, bald and fat,
‘cause she needs an Irish husband.
We’ll just make her wear a hat!
‘cause she needs an Irish husband.
We’ll just make her wear a hat!

-4-We’ll cover up the ugly
and we’ll girdle her real tight.
‘cause this gal she needs a husband,
though, sweet thing, she is a sight!
Now this man, he must be breathin’.
there’s no need for him to see.
This husband can be ugly
but true Irish he must be!
This husband can be ugly
but true Irish he must be!

-5-Now, every time you play a tune
and every time you sing,
every line of poetry
that has an Irish ring…
reminds yourself of Ireland,
that home so far away.
Though you’ve never been to Ireland,
you know you’ll go someday….
though you’ve never been to Ireland
you know you’ll go someday!
Oh, the hills are green in Ireland
The fences made of stone
The rocky paths and cottages
Our Jeffrey calls it home
You ought to come to Ireland
His home so far away
A ceasefire they are havin
It’s a bonnie place today
A ceasefire they are havin
It’s a bonnie place today

-7-Now Dundalk is a village
that misses him, you bet,
and County Louth is grieving
‘cause our darlin’ Jeff has left.
But don’t you go to cryin
and makin’ him so sad,
‘cause it’s God that brought him here to us,
a good and handsome lad
‘cause it’s God that brought him here to us,
a good and handsome lad.

-8-So, it’s too-rah, loo-rah, loo-rah
and all that Irish stuff
We’ll sing to Jeff an Irish song
But will it be enough?
We’ll paint his office green, my boys,
and give that boy a tour
and Jeff will have to think of us
as Leprechauns for sure.
And Jeff will have to think of us
as Leprechauns for sure.

So, too-rah, loo-rah, loo-rah
and all that Irish stuff
‘cause we think that Jeffrey, darlin
is a diamond in the rough.
Just think of Old Virginny
as an Irish kind of place
We’re glad you came to Richmond
It was not a big mistake.
Oh, we’re glad you came to Richmond.
It was not a big mistake!

-10-Now, every time you play a tune
And every time you sing,
Every line of poetry
That has an Irish ring….
Reminds yourself of Ireland
That home so far away.
Though you’ve never been to Ireland,
You know you’ll go someday…
Though you’ve never been to Ireland
You know you’ll go someday!Grace, Jean, Jeff & Peter 2002

I have plenty to say about this family. I won't write it down in a poem but I think that I will take this opportunity to celebrate this family and the huge input God has had in my life through them...

Jeff's wife Jean befriended me when they moved here shortly after my conversion almost nine years ago. I was a single parent who knew nothing of Christianity, the Bible, the Church, you name it, I didn't know it. I had no idea how to be a christian woman, mother, wife and friend. All of my life, everything, it all had to be newly measured by the standards of the Bible and true Christianity. Everything was up for change and I desperately needed guidance and example. How I thought, dressed, reared Seán, what I drank, who I was friends with, my conversation, everything had to change. This time of my life resembled 'out with the old & in with the new' and I needed to have the right balance. I knew what had to go, but what would I replace it with?
I was also lonely as a lot of my previous relationships had broken down before and after my conversion and apart from an unsaved neighbour, I had nobody that I was close to.

Jean took over from my pastor Stephen's disciplining of me every week which helped our relationship. It was good. We used to meet up around my kitchen table and talk about the things I had found in the Bible and needed explained to me. I had never knowingly met a true Christian before and found this whole new life fascinating and exciting.

The Irish Christians joined to my church have a different background to Christians from America. Our Church has mostly first generation Christians but Jeff and Jean's parents were/are Christians so both of them would have been reared in real Christian homes where every aspect of their lives would have been different to ours. From dating, drinking and friends to being joined to a Church family and serving/being served. One example of service would be what is called hospitality. I have seen Jeff and Jean practice this as individuals and as a family in a way that was natural and subtle, in a way that we all should. If somebody was coming home from a holiday Jean would have a meal ready for them on their windowsill. When we moved house and had no electricity until that night, Jean had us and our helpers over for dinner during the day. Sometimes she would come visit me with a little gift pack, a bag with little bits and pieces in it for me. Very thoughtful and very much appreciated, and copied later on. I never knew what banana cake was until she brought it over during visits :0)

They put an emphasis on visiting Church members, again, quietly and subtly. Now and again Jean would pick me up and go visit members who wouldn't have a lot of people visiting them. They would open their home for a Sunday lunch and parties and invite all the Church members!

Jeff supported our pastor by meeting and talking with him every week and sometimes held Sunday School/meetings on a Sunday. Jean taught a lot of Sunday School and was involved big time in the children's out reach work in the town. She also held a women's morning Bible study for a few years which I know we all found really helpful and which was a great way for some of us women to get to know each other better.

Both Jeff and Jean were friendly and sociable and when the Lord placed new people in their paths they befriended them and went out of their way to make them feel welcome in their home inviting them to barbecues, parties etc. All in all, they have been a great living example of how to be a Christian; a work in progress as we all are, but nonetheless, a good example to be held up and followed.

Their two children, (a boy and a girl who are around Seán's age) and Jean used to come over and take Sean to her home for playdates saying that her son wanted company but really, I think she was being kind and helping me out by giving me much needed time on my own.

I was invited to their home regularly and being there was just great. Apart from the obvious differences with them being American (food, home etc.) I loved to watch them both and see how they interacted with one another (which I think freaked Jean a little, being placed under a microscope!) and how they handled their children. These are small things but some examples would be how many toys they allowed their children, what they did with the old ones (passed them on on a regular basis) what kind of clothes they bought their kids and were they trendy and expensive? No, they were either passed down from their cousins or bought in Penneys etc., and in turn some were passed on to my son. Also, I married Niall a year after my conversion and hadn't a clue how to be a godly wife and needed to see how other Christian couples lived together.

Something else I really miss is the fact that I met lots of different Christians in their home. They had family members and friends from the States visiting them regularly. Christians from their home Church in Texas came over for three years in a row to help with the Summer outreach. All interesting people with different backgrounds from my own, who I loved to talk with and glean from.

I mixed with this family for over six years before they moved back to the States and by far they had the most influence over my Christian life. God's timing, as usual, is perfect and He used their stay here to teach me, encourage me, befriend me and love me when I was at a very tender stage in my life and I appreciate it. It is a great foundation to work from.

I have my regrets.
I am sorry that in my own grief over Seán's father's death I didn't reach out to comfort Jean in her grief over losing her mum.
In my own loneliness and gratefulness to be befriended by Jean I didn't consider how she may have been lonely having left friends and family behind her in the States.
I regret not learning how to be a good friend faster and then being a better one in return to Jean.

They are gone over two years now and although I have contact with them, I miss them in so many ways. (I walked around the house for two days crying after she told me they were planning to leave and am just now getting used to it)
Since they left I have learned that although I have lost a friend, I haven't lost Jesus and I have learned the truth that He is truly my friend and as long as I have Him I am never without one.

I know that this family will be a very real blessing to people wherever they go.
I know that the Church they are joined to now is definitely blessed because of them.
I know that so long as they stay close and faithful to God they will continue to be a blessing to all.
I know that it is all because of the Lord and they wouldn't have me say otherwise.
I know that people are still being blessed here in Dundalk by God because of their faithfulness.
I know that for the best part, this Christian life can be a success because I saw it.
I know it takes a lot of self control.
I know that with God's help, if others can do it, I can.
I know that I am a better Christian because of them.

Thank you guys.

Thank you God.

St Patrick's Day in Dundalk.

We had a great day this Wednesday! The weather was ok, the sun even came out for a while. We joined Dundalk FM 100 at the starting line on the other side of town and helped blow up balloons etc for the radio station's float while enjoying the atmosphere and watching all the different floats being prepared by the other people entering the Parade.

There were thousands of people along the road side. The were thick along both sides of the road from one side of the town to the other. I have never seen so many people watch the Parade. Sean had his roller blades on and had great fun skating along the road holding his flag. On front of us was an ass and cart and Sean held onto that for a time and was pulled along by it :o)
We saw and waved to plenty of friends and neighbours we know and after it was over we headed off to the Marshes for a burger. Sean had fun on the free bouncy castles there and then we went back to the Square to the farmers market and to listen to a live band playing outside the Court House.

Later we went to visit Kevin in his new apartment and then onto visit Mick and Philip in Annagassan.

It was the best Paddy's Day I can remember!

Friday 12 March 2010

Busy week

Things have been a bit hectic here this past week or so. Here is a photo diary of different things we have been getting up to lately...The women's meeting was held in the Kirwan's home. Marie held it and it was the best meeting she ever held, really good.
These scarves are identical. I bought the top one for €1 in Pennies a couple of months ags. The bottom one is for sale in n expencive shop for €27.90...

Yesterday morning Sean and I joined a school class of 5th and 6th class children in the Town Hall to see a 4 man play. Very well performed and a good story too.

Our friend and brother in the Lord Rob is back from Holland and living in N.I. He came down on his bike to visit us. Great to see him again.
Sean had a swimming test don Wednesday. He has skipped three levels due to Sigita's coaching! He is starting a set of 8 intense lessons where he will be learning to dive etc. Yesterday I took him to the pool for a few hours and he swam 205 lenghts of the 25m pool... Only I saw it with my own eyes I wouldn't have believed it.
Yesterday was a busy day. We joined up with a school tour and went to the Museun here in Dundalk and saw a film about Louth and then this great tour guide took us around some of the Museum.
Sean is still working away at trying to raise money for his sailing boat. He has 8 gift mug sets in this florist in town along with a gift pack! He is keeping tabs using three book keeping ledgers. Great exercise in money management.

We went to see Coke, or rather 'Max'. He knew us and was all excited! He looked good and it seems like he went to a very good home.I took Sean to a night of Jazz at the Innis Free guest house. Tess, his granny came along and we had a great night! Sean had a good time chatting to the musicians and we hope to get back to see them soon.

We have been having very sunny weather these past few days so with this in mind we started working on a craft Sean got for his birthday last year. Its for making sun catchers.
On Wednesday we went to the Court house for a visit. This is our second time and let me tell you, it would surprise you what we have learned in those few hours...
Gotcha! Sean is check mate in a cafe in town.

Friday 5 March 2010

Quote of the week...

From Amy's Humble Musings.

What a mess. I’m probably the only person with enough brains to brag about my arrogance and then congratulate myself afterword for repenting of it.