Monday, January 27, 2014

Marvel

Sometimes in our rush to grab life and get “there”, we speed past and miss the treasures the Creator has hidden in our lives. Here is one that tripped me up recently. The Bible says near its very beginning,
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
Every time I read that, I understood the main point (because I was taught it!) to be that somehow, men and women reflect something of the attributes of God, and that therefore we have innate worth and dignity. Point taken, move on. The concept left me sort of cold and unmoved.
Apparently, there is no punctuation in the Hebrew Torah (this is what I have read anyway). So let’s do a little thinking outside the box and take a closer look.
Then God said, “Let us make man, in our image, after our likeness.”
Notice anything different? I did. Now, what hit me with great force was the realization that humans did not always exist. Yes, I know that is obvious. But what I mean is that for a part of the history of time, God existed without mankind and at some point created us.
Then the questions and realizations started flooding in. What was God doing for all the time (maybe billions of years) before He made us? Who was He sharing it with? Why did He decide at that time to make us? What does He want from us? Was it easy for God to create the universes and us? Did He just go ‘puff’ or did He plan and design and think out each aspect of the amazing complexity and beauty of all animals, bodies, DNA, planets etc? Did it require effort?
I quickly became overwhelmed – a bit awed and maybe even afraid. Why would someone who can fling a massive ball of fire called the Sun into orbit create something ant-like - me and you? Even come to Earth and die for us? I would collapse into a few milliseconds of awe. It was too much to bear and I would rapidly turn it off. TV, book, activity. Too overwhelming.
In the Bible, Jesus said something that, honestly, I used to find a little hard to understand.
"Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."
I thought eternal life was doing my own thing in heaven, free from pain and discomfort. How could ‘knowing’  a person be ‘it’? Ah, but now I am getting it. Forgiveness is only a means to an end. And the end? 

I will not try to answer that because I am unable to do it justice. But other people are and I would like to let them speak if you have a little time. I apologize in advance – some people have said this is all too cerebral and intellectual. If you find it so then do not judge me as being for the birds; and I hope that something of what I have shared will help you find your way to marvel.

Thank you for reading.
Pat Murphy. 
Standing in the farthest corner of the garden under the two trees with their golden fruit, His back to Lucifer and only dimly visible through the rising mists, was a tall figure clothed in shining white garments. His gleaming hair seemed dark, almost raven, falling down His back, but as the mists rose and fell it seemed to change in hues to auburn and then to finely spun gold.
Slowly the figure turned.
Lucifer fell to his knees. He covered his face from the blazing white light emanating from the flames covering the figure’s countenance.
Christos walked towards Lucifer until He stopped directly in front of him. Gradually, the white mists faded. Lucifer stared, entranced, at the feet before him. They glowed as burnished bronze refined in fire. Lucifer’s gaze travelled upward from the hem of His white silk robe to the girdle of gold around His breast.
Lucifer raised his head. Christos’ face radiated with a light so intense that now His head and hair seemed white as snow. But as the shimmering waves of light settled, it became evident that His hair and beard were a deep, flaming chestnut. Resting on His head was a golden crown, embedded with the three great rubies representing the Godhead’s indissoluble covenant. Each glimpse of Christos for Lucifer was as mesmerizing as the first.
Lucifer stared, transfixed, at the strong imperial countenance, the high, bronzed cheekbones, the blazing clear eyes that flashed from hues of blue to emerald to brown, like flames of living fires with the brilliance of His multitude of discernments and tender compassions. The great King of heaven. Beautiful beyond description.
‘Christos,’ Lucifer uttered in ecstasy.
‘Lucifer,’ Christos whispered. ‘Beloved son of the morning.’
Christos bent down and clasped Lucifer’s face in His strong hands, then closed His eyes and tenderly kissed the raven head as though Lucifer were a child.
Tears coursed down Lucifer’s cheeks, splashing onto Christos’ hands. ‘I am not worthy.’
‘Only One is worthy.’ Christos’ voice was very soft, but His eyes gleamed with adoration as He turned to gaze at the rubied door of the throne room situated far above them.

Lucifer rose to his feet, staring at Christos in adulation.

 ‘The great mystery,’ Lucifer marvelled. ‘You are three, yet You are one.’ He dragged his gaze away to look at Christos.

‘Yes,’ Christos answered softly. ‘It is a great and incomparable mystery – one that shall be pondered for all eternity.’

At length Christos spoke. ‘There is a new galaxy We create, Lucifer.’

Lucifer stared up at Him in wonder. ‘Yehovah’s creations are incomparable.’ His eyes gleamed with elation.

‘You may find it insignificant by angelic standards,’ Christos continued. ‘It inhabits the galaxy next to Our new universe Tertus.’

Lucifer pondered. ‘I have been so busy attending to the foundations of Tertus – I must have passed it by on my many journeys into the galaxies.’

Christos smiled. ‘It has not much to attest to it at present. It would not have drawn your attention.’ His voice was soft. ‘We spoke to you many moons past concerning Our desire to create a new race.’

Lucifer nodded in recollection. ‘Yet another?’ He smiled brilliantly. ‘Each new race is as a marvel to me.’

Christos stared at Lucifer for a long moment. ‘A race that is not angelic.’

Lucifer looked at Him inquiringly.

Christos stood, His arms outstretched to the throne room. Slowly the colossal rubied door opened, and with it the lightning and thunder grew to a crescendo. A tempestuous wind blew, and lightning lit up the sky. Lucifer flung himself to the ground, prostrate.

And then, through the thunder and the roaring, a voice as that of a thousand waters was heard – a voice infinitely more beautiful than either angelic or human imagination had ever the capacity to conceive. This was the voice that thrust a million flaming suns into orbit, that fashioned ten thousand times ten thousand galaxies and laid the boundaries of the firmaments of a thousand universes, the voice that allotted the path of a million, million moons and created the lightning, the tempests, and the hail. The voice of the Sovereign of all sovereigns: authoritative, noble, and valiant, yet filled with grace and exquisite tenderness. It was one voice, yet as three. And it was three, yet as one.

‘Lucifer – Son of the morning,’ the voice pealed. ‘You who watched when I laid the cornerstones of the universe. You who saw Me bind the chains of Pleiades and loose the cords of Orion, who observed Me prepare a channel for the torrents of rain and a path for the thunderbolt. Lucifer – light-bearer: We would create a race in Our image . . . and in Our likeness.’

Silence fell. The lightning struck and the thunder grew in intensity. Finally the voice spoke once more.

‘ . . . the Race of Men . . . ’

Then suddenly the rubied door closed. Immediately the thunder and lightning subsided, and the wind decreased to a gentle, balmy breeze. Christos watched Lucifer intently.

Lucifer stood. ‘A race . . . in Your likeness?’ He ran his fingers through the thick locks, strangely dazed.

Christos nodded.

‘We, the angelic host – are we not Your beloved?’ Lucifer moved a step closer to Christos.

Christos smiled compassionately. ‘Light-bearer, the shining one – adored of heaven.’

The seraphim materialized and stood on each side of Lucifer to escort him out of Eden.

Lucifer fell to one knee, clasping Christos’ hand, a desperation in his voice. ‘Before I take my leave, anoint me afresh.’

Gently, Christos laid His hands on the crown of Lucifer’s head. A heavy, sweet-smelling golden liniment ran down from Christos’ palms, drenching Lucifer’s forehead and mingling with his tears. Lucifer drank in the anointing fervently, enraptured. Then his head dropped onto his breast. Christos waited. Silent.

Slowly Lucifer rose to his feet. He leaned over and kissed Christos lovingly, first on the right cheek and then on the left. Then he lifted his right hand to his own cheek. On his fingers lay a crimson liquid mixed with the liniment. He lifted his eyes to Christos, perplexed.

Christos stared down at the liquid, then back at Lucifer, a strange and terrible sorrow in His gaze. He was silent for a long moment. ‘Son of the morning, many moons hence when many worlds have long risen and fallen, there will be another garden . . . ’ Christos’ voice was barely audible, ‘ . . . another kiss . . . the Lamb of God will be slaughtered.’

Lucifer opened his mouth to protest, but Christos lifted His hand and Lucifer found himself back outside the gate to the inner sanctum.

……………………………………………….

Xacheriel stopped in mid-stride, his countenance grave. ‘They have to be rigorous in their applications, Jether. The troposphere and stratosphere of Earth’s solar system have to be meticulously calculated for the new race to exist.’ He turned to Jether. ‘We face the challenges of matter at every turn.’

The portal’s automatic voice narrated in modulated tones. ‘Man’s physical brain is comprised of over one hundred billion cells, each with over fifty thousand neuron connections to other brain cells. The structure receives over one hundred million separate signals from the human body every second.’

Jether smiled. ‘Yehovah’s inconceivable marvels!’

Michael placed his palm on a coil. Instantly, a hologram materialized and rotated, zooming in on the prototype’s eye. ‘Over one hundred and twenty-five million rods and cones,’ the narration continued, ‘specialized cells so sensitive that some can detect a mere handful of photons.’

Michael and Jether sped through the infinite, twisting corridors for what seemed like eternities, finally stopping before the vast living, breathing veil that Xacheriel was studying in sheer ecstasy, now completely oblivious to their arrival.

‘DNA,’ Jether murmured in wonder. ‘The building blocks of life. Unimaginable complexity . . . ’

The veil became transparent, and billions of intricate, pulsating code sequences became visible.

‘A three-hundred-billion base sequence!’ Xacheriel’s eyes flashed in exhilaration. ‘A unique program perfectly adapted to each aspect of the new race – making up the human genomic code . . . ’

Michael shook his head in wonder.

‘The instruction set that will carry each one of the new race from one-cell egg to adulthood . . . ’

Jether nodded, transfixed.

‘Ten times two-point-four times ten to the ninth power possible sequences of nucleotides,’ Xacheriel continued, ‘all of which would lead to complete biological malfunction.’ He turned to Michael in awe. ‘Except for this very one.’

‘Created in His image,’ Michael said softly.

‘The human construction book, or an instruction manual, if you like,’ Xacheriel continued. ‘Matter we created for the specific purpose of being a carrier of the code.’

Exhilarated, he held up a DNA fibre in his fingers. ‘No less amazing – two millionths of a millimetre thick.’ His eyes glowed with fervency. ‘Yet the amount of information contained within it is so immense that in the case of human DNA, if the tightly coiled strands inside a human adult were unwound and stretched out straight, they would cover the distance from the newly created planet to its lone moon half a million times!

Xacheriel spun around to face Jether and Michael. ‘And when coiled . . . ’ He gestured to a tiny receptacle the size of a teaspoon. ‘All the strands could fit in this. Forty-six chromosomes to each of the new race’s living cells. The genotypes of all cells derived from a particular cell will be precisely the same – unless . . . ’ Xacheriel frowned and glowered at them from under his eyebrows. ‘Unless a mutation occurs . . . ’ he declared ominously.

‘Which is, of course, inconceivable,’ Jether added hurriedly.

Slowly the heavy steel door opened.
The three archangel brothers and the two Ancient Ones followed Xacheriel into the outer vault, then through a second door until they all stood in the centre of a smaller inner portal.
All at once, there was a roaring above the portal atrium as the crystal cupola directly over the small assembly opened, and a vast, brilliant chamber of light began to descend. As the angels watched in awe, a figure swathed in brilliant, shimmering light became visible in the centre of the brilliance, suspended two full leagues above the ground.
Charsoc stared as the light gradually settled, magnetized to the descending figure. ‘Man . . . ’ he whispered in awe.

Gabriel stared at the figure, captivated. The prototype, now hovering just above the ground, appeared to be completely covered by a thin, incandescent clayish layer. Gabriel noticed that it was at least a cubit shorter than the angels and had no discernible wings. Its outer layers were created of matter and therefore appeared much duller than the translucent angelic bodies. He could not be sure, but it seemed that the atoms that continually radiated around the angelic host were missing. But it was beautiful. He stared, incredulous. With great difficulty he drew his gaze away to Michael. ‘Its features are flawless!’ His face shone. ‘As the angels . . . ’

Jether bowed his head a moment in reverence. Slowly he opened his eyes. ‘My revered angelic princes, I have mentored and served you throughout the aeons, but I tell you that never in the annals of the First Heaven has there been such a day as this.’

‘A new race . . . ’ Charsoc said in wonder, ‘created in His own likeness . . . ’

‘The race of men are not fashioned as we, the angelic,’ Xacheriel explained, his face shining with rapture. ‘We, the angelic race, are each individually created by Yehovah. Fearfully and wonderfully fashioned. Yet we hold no ability to replicate ourselves.’

‘Yehovah has endowed the race of men with the capacity to create after its own kind.’ Jether turned to Lucifer. ‘As does Yehovah.’

Lucifer averted his gaze from Jether’s.
 
‘In His image,’ Charsoc whispered.
 
Lucifer, overcome by sheer fascination, moved nearer towards the prototype. He stared at the features of the man, studying intently the high cheekbones, the strong jaw line, the chestnut hair. ‘It is strangely familiar . . . ’

Charsoc stared at him intently for a long moment. ‘Have you not yet guessed, Lucifer?’
Lucifer frowned.
Charsoc raised his gaze to the prototype, then back down to Lucifer. ‘His image is that of Christos.’
Gabriel stared at the prototype, incredulous.

Michael was rapt in worship, exultant, his face shining. Slowly he turned his head to Lucifer, who was staring blindly at the prototype and trembling, his senses reeling with a terrible, searing, violent jealousy.
And it was then, as Michael watched, that Lucifer lifted his head from the prototype. His eyes glittered hard and black, filled with loathing.
He was staring up through the crystal cupola directly towards Yehovah’s throne.
-  From the Fall of Lucifer by Wendy Alec

You might also be interested in http://www.newlife.ie/video.html

 

Counting Down Until The Pain Stops


In the mornings it is better to stay in bed,

and not wake up to face another day of emptiness.

With your heart in pieces, where do you go?

Alcohol and sleep provide momentary relief.

There is a black hole inside me - a gnawing emptiness.

I want the pain to stop.

I sit in my flat smoking a cigarette, reading these words.

 

Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy pressures,

and I will give you rest.

Join with me and do as I say. Let me teach you,

because I am humble and gentle at heart,

and you will find rest for your souls.

 

So I do ....... and into my emptiness comes a new love.

Someone I become captivated by, who will not reject me.

I know deep down inside me that I am going to be alright.

For that I will do anything for him.

 

When I drift away and it’s all quiet

and I am on my own, then the old thoughts

and feelings begin their whisperings again.

I will stick close to him.

I remember that he loves me, and that he is there.

He is in control.
Everything is going to be alright.

- Pat Murphy

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Noise and Haste

We live amidst ‘noise and haste’ and have very little time for silence.  Even when we spend some time alone with God we often rush into his presence with a shopping list of requests and concerns and then rush back out again often distracted by something we have to do or somewhere we have to be.

Ruth Hayley-Barton in her book Invitation to Solitude and Silence says this:

            In silence we begin to recognise that a lot of our God-talk is like the finger
            that points to the moon. The finger that points to the moon is not the moon.
            Pointing to the moon, talking about the moon, involving ourselves in study
            and explanation about how the light of the moon is generated is not the same
thing as sitting in moonlight, letting moonbeams fall around us illuminating what they will.  It is not the same thing as noticing how everything is transformed in this numinous light. When we sit in the light of the moon, we don’t try to figure it out, explain it or force it to be anything other than what it is. We just enjoy sitting in the midst of it.

It is the same with God. Our words about God are not the Reality itself.  They are only the finger pointing to the moon. In silence we give in to the fact that our words can never contain God or adequately describe our experiences with God.  When we give in to the exhaustion that comes from trying to put everything into words and mental concepts, we give our mind permission to just stop.  We give ourselves over to the experience of the Reality itself.



Madge Hegarty

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas

When I hear all the familiar hymns being sung like ‘A child is born’ Away in a Manger, Silent Night etc. I want to nudge the person sitting beside me and say “I know Him, that’s my Lord they are singing about” and then sit back and bask in the reflected glory.  The songs are so familiar that sometimes we are not as “awestruck” as we should be at what happened that night.

Billy Graham says this “Have you ever thought about what happened because Christ has come to the world? The Babe in the manger of Bethlehem grew up to become our crucified and risen Saviour – and the world has never been the same.

His compassion has made the world more compassionate.  His healing touch has made the world more humanitarian. His selflessness has made the world more self-effacing. Christ drew a rainbow of hope around the shoulders of men and women and gave them something to live for.

If Christ had not come, this world would indeed be a hopeless world.  If Christ had not come this would be a lost world. There would be no access to God, there would be no atonement for sin, there would be no forgiveness, and there would be no Saviour.

Yes Christ came into the world and made it a better place and He will do the same for you, if you open your life to Him”.

Madge Hegarty

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Celia

When the news came through a few weeks ago that a lady had died in the floods I felt sad.  When the next day I heard it was a woman from the Philippines that worked in the Hospice I felt sadder.  When later on that day I discovered her name was Celia, a lady who I have known for many years, I felt a profound sense of sadness.

Celia Ferrer De Jesus had worked in the household staff of the Rheumatology Dept of the Hospice for about 11 years.  She was here to work to support her son and her husband as there is very little work in the Philippines.  She sent a lot of her money home and lived frugally herself.  She was lonely but she had no choice she had to be where there was work.  When last I spoke with her she was struggling to pay rent and send money home.

Selwynne Hughes author of Every Day with Jesus says, even when things are going well in our own lives, inwardly we groan when we hear of the suffering of others.  I groaned and wrestled with the Lord in relation to the way this kind, harmless lady died.  Where was He, why didn’t he allow her to be rescued?  Of course, God didn’t ordain it, it was a tragic accident but that didn’t still console me.  I got no answer that satisfied me but what did come to my mind was the image of Jesus on the cross voluntarily dying a horrible death for our sins.

My hope is that Jesus reached his hand down to Celia and carried her home.  A home where there is “no more sorrow or crying or pain, all that is gone forever”, a home where she is with her Father and not lonely anymore.

There are many like Celia living among us.  They came from all over the world to work here during the celtic tiger era. Some, like Celia, have had to leave their families at home.  We live beside them, work along side them and worship with them but I wonder how many of them have ever been invited to an Irish home.  Have we welcomed the alien as God has instructed us to do?

Madge Hegarty
    

Thursday, August 11, 2011



Song of the Nightingale

 
As I looked up at the beautiful demure looking young woman speaking at a hotel in Athlone I could never have imagined what she had lived through in the previous years.  Recently I read a more detailed account in her book Song of the Nightingale (published by Authentic Media) of the years she spent in captivity in metal containers in the notorious Mai Serwa prison camp In Eritrea.

As a young Eritrean Helen Berhane loved her country but her heart was saddened at the war that was going on between Eritrea and the neighbouring country Ethiopia.  She had lost friends in this war and knew that many more lives would be lost if it continued.  On her way home one evening through the city of Asmara she had an overwhelming sense of compassion as she looked at people chatting and laughing on the steps of the cathedral.  She knew that some of these people could soon be caught up in this war and maybe lose their lives.  She climbed to the top of the steps of the cathedral, clapped her hands to get their attention and started to speak.  She told them what a great country Eritrea was and asked them to pray for peace between Eritrea and Ethiopa.  She reminded them that Jesus had said we were to love our neighbours.  The crowd listened attentively and some were moved to tears by what she was saying.  When she finished and descended the steps two casually dressed men approached her.  They were, as she suspected, the secret police.  She was brought to the police station and questioned intensively by the chief of police but was let go with a warning not to preach again.  Helen vowed in her mind to continue to speak out because she believed that the Christian gospel had to be preached and it was the only hope for the nation of Eritrea.   This was Helen’s first encounter with the authorities in Eritrea but it was not to be her last and very soon again her conviction was to be tested.

In 2002 the Eritrean Government brought in a law that only recognised certain churches and all other religious gatherings were banned.  Helen had been asked by some young people to lead a bible study and even though it was risky she continued to meet with them after the law was enacted.  They met in secret after but one night the police came and arrested them all.  Helen and her companions were held and interrogated for three weeks in one of the police stations.  They were then brought to the Mai Serwa prison which was reserved for long term prisoners and serious criminals.  Helen expected they would be put in to cells but instead they were herded in to a 20 foot metal container.  Shock ran through her as she realised these were the cells.  She remembered a recent news report where a farmer had kept sheep in a metal container but because the temperature dropped so low during the night the sheep died.

Over the next two and a half years Helen lived in these containers in appalling conditions. Fleas and lice were constant companions.   She was tortured and beaten regularly and everything that was possible to dehumanise and degrade her was done.  But she continued to sing and pray and share her faith with others. The authorities wanted her to sign a paper saying she would stop being a Christian and they would release her but she refused to sign and give up on her faith even though she knew this decision would condemn her to a longer prison sentence and maybe even for life.

After a severe beating by one of the guards Helen was sent to the prison clinic and eventually to the hospital. She was in such bad physical condition that the doctor said she could not be sent back to prison and she was released.  She stayed in the hospital sometime and her health improved.  Her parents took her home and cared for her.  Even though she was still very frail health wise she moved to Somalia as she knew she wasn’t safe in Eritrea.  But even in Somalia she was being constantly watched and hounded by the secret police so she and her 17 year old daughter got asylum in Denmark where they now live.

Helen carries the “scars of war” as she still has trouble walking after all the beatings but what an example of the bible verse “you can kill the body but you cannot kill the soul”.  Helen’s inner spiritual life remained intact even when the body was being battered and bruised.   We all love stories about people who survive through difficult circumstances but Helen did more than survive she ‘conquered’.  In the epilogue of her book she has a message for her tormentors “I want to tell them that I love them and one day I hope they will come to believe in the Jesus that I serve”.


Madge Hegarty
           
 
        

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Do Not Worry

I awoke a few mornings ago with my mind ‘whizzing’ with worry.  The concerns were real and probably similar to what a lot of people worry about at this time; health, finances, family. They all seemed like huge mountains and I felt like a grasshopper.
I wrestled with them trying to figure out how to sort them but to no avail. Truthfully I forgot about God and His direction not to worry until I sensed Him saying “Be still”.
My friend gave me this old hymn which she found that morning:


Be still my soul the Lord is on your side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to your God to order and provide
In every change he faithfully will remain

Be still my soul your best your heavenly friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end

Be still my soul your God does undertake
To guide the future as He has the past
Your hope your confidence let nothing shake
All now mysterious shall be bright at last


There is so much ‘potential’ for worry at the moment for us all; personally, nationally and globally.  But for those of us who “hope upon the Lord” He has given us many promises like 'I will never leave you or forsake you'; 'I will be with you in trouble'; 'I will not fail you'.

The worries that sent my mind ‘whizzing’ on that morning still remain.  God sometimes removes the problems but more often He gives us the strength to walk through them but there is a great  sense of peace when you realise that He ‘knows’ what is happening and He is in it with you.

Madge Hegarty

Thursday, March 17, 2011

So how has it changed your life

a woman asked me recently when I told her I had been a Christian for many years.  The question took me by surprise because no one had asked me that in a long time, I gave her an answer which I thought was adequate at the time but had I more time to reflect and scan back over nearly 30 years my answer would have been more comprehensive.

When I came to a realisation, in my early 20s, that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and that by inviting Him in to my life it was possible to have a personal relationship with Him, my life changed.  I went from being spiritual aware to being spiritually alive. For the first time in my life I knew for sure that God existed and that it was possible to relate to Him as a person.  Before this I had hoped He was there but even if He was I thought He was far away and distant, someone you tried to keep on the right side of, someone to be feared.

I read an article recently by a man who collects old books.  He said booksellers have their own jargon and when you see w.a.f (with all flaws) beside a book you know you are buying a book that is damaged.  He said he likes to think of God doing the same for us.  I came to God with “many flaws”.  God is like an artist who finds an old painting that he loves in a basement or an attic.  The painting has suffered damage over the years so the artist sets out to restore it to its former glory.  He works on it over time and little by little the painting is returning to what it should have looked like.  The painting (if it had feelings) has to yield and trust the artist. The artist doesn’t love the painting any more when it is restored than he did when he first found it but he is pleased with his workmanship.

God uses different “tools” in people’s lives.  One thing he has used in my life is physical suffering as I have had rheumatoid arthritis since I was 19.  If I had been God I would have removed this from my life but He in his wisdom allowed it to stay (at least so far) against my protests and my pleas and yes He has used it.  I have had to “be still” at times when I wanted to be doing and going.  I have had to lean harder on God just to survive and learn to trust Him in it.  I have had to grapple with suffering – not just my own but suffering in the world.  I have experienced sorrow but also great joy in the midst of it and when I edged towards despair God always pulled me back from the brink.  This side of heaven we will never fully understand God’s ways.  I think of our lives as a tapestry now we are looking at the underneath side and there are bits of threads going every where but when we see the picture completed we will see that all those threads came together to
create a pattern and then we will truly know that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, and who are called according to his purposes”.
Amazing Grace how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now I am found
was blind but now I see

- Madge Hegarty

Thursday, November 11, 2010

India

Three weeks from today I am going to India. Why you may ask? I have found it very difficult to answer the question I get from people at work, from family, from fellow Christ-followers
What are you going to India for? Is it holiday or business?.
My answers have varied from (in chronological order starting from last year):
  • Just a visit
  • Charity work
  • Because God told me to
  • Not really sure
I have learned that there is no easy acceptable way of saying what is essentially crazy. As Festus said to Paul all those years ago :
You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane." - Acts 26:24
I am going to India because Jesus Christ (the God-man who came to earth 2000 years ago) has told me to go. I want to take the focus off me and put it where it belongs – on the only person in the family of God, humans have ever seen. I distinctly remember when I first encountered Him -- I was depressed: lost: had been for years. I felt like there was a black hole inside me - a gnawing emptiness. I did not know how long more I could go on living.

I sat in my flat smoking a cigarette, reading the words of, and about Jesus Christ."Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls."  - Matthew 11:28+

I felt loved, I did not feel lonely - there was someone in that room with me. If I talk about it, I will start weeping because I can still remember and feel the pain. For years the only way I could describe it was to say : " I knew - I knew deep down inside me that everything was going to be alright" because I knew He was with me and I could feel it. I have never felt alone since that day, and for that I will do ANYTHING for Jesus Christ. Sometimes that is hard, especially when He tells me to go apologize to people!
We could take the thousands of Euros being spent on this trip and donate it to a charity in India – surely that would be a better use of the money?

It's not a case of either or – it's both. I remember watching the "Titanic" movie years ago. I was sitting in the dark cinema watching the harrowing scene at the end where the ship sinks and all those many people flailing and screaming in the freezing water. Or, every week I take a lunchtime walk through the graveyard near where I work in Blanchardstown.
There are so many graves of young children, with pictures and toys for little loved ones taken - the sadness and sense of loss is so thick in the air. I think:

"What is going on - that we cannot see - that God looks down from heaven -  and does nothing?"

The only thing I came up with is  : "there must be something even bigger at stake - something more important than staying alive and happy."

"...do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. " – Luke 12:4

There is a bloody battle going on for you - and your loved ones. Don't mistake it. And what's at stake is God's glory and your happiness. It's not just the matter of - will you spend eternity in outer darkness, or in the Heavenly city of God knowing the King. What you choose is of eternal significance, and of such value to Him, that at the expense of so much pain - God steps back to let you make it freely. Only freely given love and worship is of any value -  I have come to understand. As for the little ones in the graveyard, they cannot choose, and go straight to be with their maker.

God Himself entered this bloody battle when He came to earth - Jesus Christ. Even on the very night he died, he was under relentless attack from the enemy - anything to stop him going to the cross. And when the enemy could not stop Jesus from going to the cross, he drove man to make it as brutal and painful as possible. What is the essence of everything that Jesus did? It is -  'I am so lost, that to save me , God had to come down to earth and suffer for me. But I am so loved, that He was willing to do it.'

Are you for real? Jesus of Nazareth came from another 'place' so as to speak? God was actually on earth once?

He didn't die by mistake, just because He ticked off a load of religious bigots and Roman officers. With one eye blink from the cross he says he could have commanded legions of angels from heaven to rescue him. Why didn't he? Because He came down to liberate a people lost in 'darkness' and 'blindness'.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12b
When you turn from running your life your way and turn back to God - not to religion or being a better peson -  then God takes you seriously,
forgives you all of your sins, and gives you a new life.
This is possible because the blood of the Son of God was spilled for your sins - It is true! Eventhough I came to God for forgiveness, and help to get out of bed in the morning; I have found that I stay because Jesus captured my heart and mind - as I began to see Jesus for who He really is, and how He lovesme. There is of course a downside -- you are now marked in the sight of Satan and his demons. Be ready for temptations and opposition.

You might only get one chance to see clearly and respond to God with clarity –is this your time?
That is why the Holy Spirit says, "Today when you hear his voice, don't harden your hearts…. Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God." - Hebrews 3:7-8a,12

- Pat Murphy