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Monday, September 18, 2017

HIdden Jewels? • A County Donegal Mystery • Part 3

Joelle was able to read most of the letter she had discovered in the old book despite its fading and age.

My Dearest Niece Eliza,

How time has flown since your father and I played in the gardens of each others' homes.
And now his daughter is grown and about to be wed.
I dearly appreciated how you lovingly ministered to me after my dear husband passed away.
I'll never forget your gentle compassion and kindness.

I am elated you have found the man of your dreams, the man God prepared to be your husband!
Soon you will be Mrs. John Mc Intyre.
Thank you for the invitation to your wedding.

I regret I shall not be able to attend due to a recent decline in health, but I want to tell you of a special wedding gift for you & your descendants should you ever be in great need (above and beyond the gift I plan to send along for you wedding reception). 
The special gift is an exquisitely lovely ring I could never bear to wear, as my husband (your uncle) died before he could give it to me for our anniversary.
It has an emerald just the shade of your beautiful eyes and is surrounded by diamonds.
I hid it in a place close to my husband's heart.

I hope you and your husband-to-be will always look to Christ in your marriage and that you will be as happily married as my husband & I were.

Aunt Jane

Joelle saw a postscript written in another language.  She guessed it must be Gaelic.
She would have to ask her new friends what it meant.

It was very interesting that Eliza's future husband's surname was the same as Joelle's.
Perhaps she should look further into her genealogy.  Could she be related?

(This portion of the story has been contributed mostly by my sister TJT.)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Mysterious Letter • A County Donegal Mystery • Part 2

Joelle awoke the next morning eager to head to a car boot sale with Briona, the wife and mother of the family that she was staying with in Killult.
She had never gone before to a car boot sale - at least not by that name.
It was a beautiful day, and the two ladies enjoyed getting better acquainted on the scenic drive.
At the sale, Joelle discovered an old box of books which she purchased that day.
Joelle & Briona had a bite to eat before heading back to the cottage in Killult that day.

Joelle loved the vistas from the home's gardens.  There was a view of a bay of the Atlantic ocean in back of the property, and another location on site was lush with greenery.  It was where a Bible study was held each week.
She looked forward to that, and she was grateful that she was with a brother and sister in Christ at this home.
She explored the garden and enjoyed the calm serenity.
She had not forgotten all of her concerns about a future place to live, but she quietly prayed and did not let it destroy her present enjoyment.
She watched again as the sun set that evening, only this time she watched the gorgeous hues over the bay waters in back of the cottage.  She was so thankful to be here.

The next day it began to rain,  so after breakfast and reading her Bible, she looked over the books which she had purchased the previous day.
She spied a folded yellowed paper in one of the books.
Curiously, she opened the book and carefully pulled it out.
The year on the paper was 1852, and excitement tingled inside of her.
The writing was faded, and she held it up to the light to see if she could read it.

More next time, Lord-willing!

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Adventure Begins • A Visit To Mt Errigal • A County Donegal Mystery • Pt. 1

There was a pink glow as the sun set on Mt. Errigal in County Donegal of Ireland.
Joelle turned around and hurried to the car of her host family.
Joelle had been surprised to be sent to Ireland for a visit after her family home had been destroyed by flooding after a hurricane in the U.S.
The rest of her family (parents and younger siblings) were crowded into the small house of an aunt in Dandridge, TN.
Joelle, at age 19,  was both excited and frightened to be off on an adventurous journey all by herself.
Thankfully, the host family had taken excellent care of her from the time they saw her at the airport.
They included her in everything, and she was thankful to be treated to a visit to Dunlewey Church and Mt. Errigal this very day.
The marble and quartz of the old church ruin and the fresh-water lake and Seven Sisters mountain chain were fascinating....especially with the history surrounding them.

(I might continue this story another time, or perhaps someone else will guest write the next segment.  We shall see! The setting for this story beginning is from an online acquaintance in Ireland.  Thank you to Tom!)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Encouragement In Fires, Floods, Hurricanes, & Other Tragedies

Hurricanes, floods, fires, and tragedies seem to abound...and perhaps you may be able to add something else that you are facing in your home or family.

Charles Spurgeon gave a sermon when many in his congregation were faced with terrible loss.
Yes, there were hurricanes, shipwrecks, and tragedies in his day.
He also faced depression after someone caused a stampede at the church by yelling "fire" at one point in his life.
There were some deaths & injuries from that.
His theme for the message I'm sharing was God's sovereignty at one of these times (the loss of a ship), and he touched on laws of nature He uses to rule that He can choose to suspend or not to suspend (and providence).

 Here are a few quotes that I want to encourage you with.

He reigneth in the calm summer's day, and gives us the precious fruits of harvest, but He is equally present and regnant in the hurricane which destroys, or the blight which desolates. His providence speeds the ship to its desired haven, but it is equally His providence which sinks the barque and its mariners to the bottom of the sea.  - Charles Spurgeon
If not a sparrow falleth to the ground without our Father, we are sure that no great calamity can befall us apart from Him. He is not far from us in our deepest sorrow, and however we may trace a calamity to the carelessness or the mistake of men, these are but the second causes, and we see behind all mere detail the permit of the Lord.                     - Charles Spurgeon
God hath appointed all things, and His people are safe everywhere, whether they live or die.  - Charles Spurgeon
To read that whole sermon Click HERE.
Great is the peril of the ocean, but there are also dangers on the hind, and at, any moment we also may be summoned to appear before our God.
Since this cannot be questioned, let; each prudent man foresee the evil and prepare himself for it. - Charles Spurgeon
To see more of what he shared after a hurricane, Click HERE.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Hurricane Harvey - Helping Those Affected

Like many of you, I've been following the news about the flooding that has been happening in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

This storm has been devastating to many.
One person that I follow on social media had tornadoes not far from his home before the flooding began, and another had water starting to enter his family's home and has now been evacuated.
Many people have lost their homes, but they are grateful for their lives being saved.
Heroic efforts are being made to rescue people, and even civilians are pitching in.

Sadly, there have been reports of some looters and even some of the rescuers have had their lives put in danger by criminal fakes.

God is still Sovereign even when things look like they are falling apart.
There is no "Mother Nature" that controls things.
That is an idol that those who reject the true God like to give credit to.

I want to share some from what a pastor (Don Green) said last Sunday that we as Christians need to remind ourselves of in trying times, and then I will share a link to a place that you can give to help those affected by the flooding.

Find your security & confidence in the provisions of God rather than what you have on hand.
If you want to glorify God in your life, start by being content & trusting God no matter what.
When you wonder what's going to happen, remember the fullness of what Christ did.
Think true thoughts. Don't feed your anxiety.
If God has been generous with the salvation of our souls, He's generous to provide for us (what we need) in this life.
Think high & lofty & good thoughts about God. You will never trust enough in His abundant love because it surpasses understanding.

Click on the image above to find a trustworthy organization that is helping people.

For those who know someone who needs help, there are a couple of map sites to put the addresses of those who need rescuing on (aside from official numbers and sites that should be contacted).
People can try to connect others with help online, but Christians need to also remember to pray.
God is a very present help in time of trouble.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

I Shall Again Praise Him

We've been going through times of testing physically in our family, and I feel like a worn out wet dish rag with my own poor physical health.
I'm concerned for the one family member who has to play nurse and cook for us as well.
I was encouraged today to remember to desire God's glory & will foremost over my own.
I have not been doing well.  My spring has sprung.

There are so many Christians suffering out there for their faith as well as physically.
I know that I'm not alone in suffering, and I admit that I keep heading back to Psalms instead of Job for encouragement and hope.
I get little glimpses of God's mercy by reminders that encourage me for short times.
I need frequent reminders.

Sunday is an extra blessing though I am not up to leaving home....again.
I miss the days when we were able to make it to church, but I'm blessed by Truth Community Church & Grace Community Church live-streams.
It's not the same I know, but it is refreshing when you have not been feeling well.
That seems to be most of the time for a long time.

Today, I was reminded again of verses about hoping in God with a song sung by an online acquaintance named Edward LaRow.
I'm thankful he shared it, as I'm very familiar with the verses.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Why We're Protestant - Hot Off The Press

Why We're Protestant
The author of Reviving New England (Nate Pickowicz - a pastor & church planter in New Hampshire) has another new book just released which examines the 5 Solas.
It looks like something my readers might want to check out!
I reviewed his first book HERE (part 1 of my review).