Friday, 27 June 2008

LOOKING FOR THAT CITY

THE SEEKERS
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Friends and loves we have none, nor wealth nor blessed abode,
But the hope of the City of God at the other end of the road.
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Not for us are content, and quiet, and peace of mind,
For we go seeking a city that we shall never find.
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There is no solace on earth for us--for such as we--
Who search for a hidden city that we shall never see.
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Only the road and the dawn, the sun, the wind, and the rain,
And the watch-fire under stars, and sleep, and the road again.
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We seek the City of God, and the haunt where beauty dwells,
And we find the noisy mart and the sound of burial bells.
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Never the golden city, where radiant people meet,
But the dolorous town where mourners are going about the street.
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We travel the dusty road till the light of the day is dim,
And sunset shows us spires away on the world’s rim.
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We travel from dawn to dusk, till the day is past and by,
Seeking the Holy City beyond the rim of the sky.
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Friends and loves we have none, nor wealth nor blest abode,
But the hope of the City of God at the other end of the road.

John Masefield


Thursday, 26 June 2008

Tiny Tim - Living In the Sunlight

TINY TIM - THROUGH THE TULIPS

Tiny Tim was a one off...who became a hit as a result of his appearances on the U.S. comedy show The Rowan and Martin Laugh-In in the early 1970's.Born Herbert Khaury on April 12, 1932 in New York City,the son of a Lebanese father and Jewish mother. Singing old music hall ditties in his distinctive falsetto voice accompanied on the ukulele and with his other-age impeccable manners he came across as a gentle eccentric soul who seemed oddly adrift in the 2o th century.At 17 I was intrigued by this 'misfit' and he became one of my (unlikely!) heroes.
Later I discovered that Tiny Tim was a Christian and that behind all the show-biz veneer there was a very sensitive and perhaps troubled soul. He married on three occasions to women all much younger than himself, the first and most notable whom he addressed as 'Miss Vicky'. He said one time "I'd love to see Christ come back to crush the spirit of hate and make men put down their guns."...which he followed with another aspiration..."I'd also like just one more hit single."
His big hit was Tiptoe Through The Tulips which was originally recorded by Maurice Chevaliar, and a follow up hit On The Good Ship Lollipop originally sung by child star Shirly Temple.
He suffered a heart attack performing at a ukulele festival in September of 1996. After getting out of the hospital, Tiny Tim the trouper resumed his concert schedule. The schedule proved too taxing, and on November 30, he suffered another heart attack while performing "Tip-Toe Through the Tulips" in Minneapolis, and died an hour later. He was 64 years old.
Most definitely his likes we will not see again !

Gerard O'Shea

THE UPPER ROOM

That's Mike in the middle !
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This is one of the most reflective and radical blogs I have come across where Mike unfolds his soul and hearts desire as he struggles to live the Jesus life.As the header for The Upper Room explains …“This blog is about explorations in New Testament Christianity, theology, and living the mission of Christ here and now. This is not a spot for perfect people - those who have all the answers, where GOD is firmly placed in a box. Do you hunger for something more than just Church on Sunday? If your heart beats with the desires of the NT Church, then this is the place for you. Come into the Upper Room. Join with imperfect people and explore the wonders of walking after Jesus.” And later in his bio he shares the purpose of his life…“I'm trying to throw out all the junk that is not biblical and live a New Testament lifestyle” ~GOSh.~

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IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS...

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To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. Prov 21:3

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Solomon built the most ostentatious temple of all. No temple in history will match the size or grandeur of Solomon's creation in Jerusalem. Yet despite this building of magnificence, the wise king says "to do what is right is more important than sacrifice".


It is easy to get caught up in the big. It is easy to be part of something large. In fact we a pulled toward such things. But this is not where the heart of GOD is at. It is how we treat those who come in contact with us. It is how we act when no-one is looking. The sacrifice of bulls never put a smile on GOD's face, but justice and the care for others did.

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I suppose the message to me, is to "go and do likewise".

Posted by Mike on June 15th.

http://theupperroom.typepad.com

Monday, 23 June 2008

SANDSTORM

video

We walk all our days in shadows

As we skip along life's sands

The ocean in our ears

The end always at hand...

The sun upon our backs

Sweet voices in our head

And still the awful silence

Pounding out the ancient dread...

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Every day is a months journey

Each step forward takes us home

All our vain posturing

Just leaves us more alone...

Strangers in our sorrow

Evicted from our souls

Behind in all our payments

Seeking streets of gold...

Gerard O'Shea

FLYING HIGH


SOARING PRICES !
(Thanks to eagle-eyed Antoin for this one)



Morris and his wife Esther went to the State fair every year, and every year Morris would say, "Esther, I'd like to ride in that helicopter."
Esther always replied, "I know Morris, but that helicopter ride is fifty dollars, and fifty dollars is fifty dollars." One year Esther and Morris went to the fair, and Morris said, "Esther, I'm 85 years old. If I don't ride that helicopter, I might never get another chance."
To this, Esther replied, "Morris that helicopter ride is fifty dollars, and fifty dollars is fifty dollars."
The pilot overheard the couple and said, "Folks I'll make you a deal. I'll take the both of you for a ride.
If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and not say a word, I won't charge you!
But if you say one word, it's fifty dollars."

Morris and Esther agreed and up they went. The pilot did all kinds of fancy manoeuvres, but not a word was heard.
He did his daredevil tricks over and over again, but still not a word.
When they landed, the pilot turned to Morris and said, "By golly, I did everything I could to get you to yell out, but you didn't. I'm impressed!"
Morris replied, "Well, to tell you the truth, I almost said something when Esther fell out.
But, you know, fifty dollars is fifty dollars!"

EVERYDAY MYSTERIES

A Continual Miracle (GOSh.)
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This perspective on miracles from the American poet Walt Whitman explores the extraordinary miracle of life itself and in its multitude of expressions in the mundane and ordinary. As we reflect on these everyday often taken for granted phenomena we are drawn to realise that they are in fact wonderful and awesome in themselves. By this measure each breath is a mystery and each sunrise an operation of a sacred and holy rite, may our hearts be stilled and our eyes opened to all that is miraculous lying at our feet! ~GOSh.~
.

MIRACLES

Why! who makes much of a miracle?

As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,

Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,

Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,

Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the water,

Or stand under trees in the woods,

Or talk by day with any one I love--or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love,

Or sit at table at dinner with my mother,

Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,

Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon,

Or animals feeding in the fields,

Or birds--or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,

Or the wonderfulness of the sun-down--or of stars shining so quiet and bright,

Or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring;

Or whether I go among those I like best, and that like me best--mechanics, boatmen, farmers,

Or among the savans--or to the soiree--or to the opera,

Or stand a long while looking at the movements of machinery,

Or behold children at their sports,

Or the admirable sight of the perfect old man, or the perfect old woman,

Or the sick in hospitals, or the dead carried to burial,

Or my own eyes and figure in the glass;

These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,

The whole referring--yet each distinct, and in its place.

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To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,

Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,

Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,

Every foot of the interior swarms with the same;

Every spear of grass--the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women,and all that concerns them,

All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles.

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To me the sea is a continual miracle;

The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the ships,with men in them,

What stranger miracles are there?

Walt Whitman


Saturday, 21 June 2008

BELFAST MIRACLE

Back from the dead?
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I have mentioned before the Florida Outpouring currently ongoing at Lakelands in the U.S.A. ( see :THE FLORIDA REVIVAL ) under the ministry of Canadian Todd Bentley. One of the features of these meetings is the amount of Christians who have travelled from other countries to take ‘the fire’ back to their own place and this piece from the Belfast News Letter (a secular newspaper) shows how believers are operating in the miraculous far from the place of the Revivals origin. Bentley always said that this would be a media revival and he regularly invites the glare of media spotlight to investigate the ‘miracles’ ,offering before and after medical reports to authenticate them. Already he has appeared on Fox News with Jeraldo Rivera where the medical reports to back up the miraculous claims were sought by the sceptical reporter, since that interview the documentation has been forwarded.Here is the full story from the News Letter including the original headline… ~ GOSh.~


Teenager 'back from the dead' after crash

AN ELIM Church in Belfast is claiming that a teenager came "back from the dead" after a serious car crash.
The case is being linked into an international Pentecostalist healing phenomenon, which began in Florida.Dozens of people are now flocking nightly to services at the church in Tigers Bay, north Belfast.Members say that 18-year-old Andrew Duffin was dead for 16 minutes on a hospital operating table, but revived after his father, who is a Christian, sent out a prayer appeal through American preacher Todd Bentley.But last night other observers voiced a note of caution and a Presbyterian minister who has worked in divine healing said that while miracles can happen, he had not personally witnessed any on that scale.The 18-year-old was seriously injured when the car he was travelling in smashed into a wall along the Newtownbreda Road at around 5am on Saturday, May 3.He says he was unaware he was being carried in a stolen car and was left to die in the backseat after the driver and front seat passenger ran off.Andrew said: "I was taken to the Royal Victoria hospital. I have only been told this, of course, as I remember nothing. I had been drinking for a few hours before the crash."I know now that my bowel was ruptured and I was filled with poison but the hospital did not operate on me until the Sunday."When I was taken to theatre the doctors opened me up and I had a heart attack. The doctors then told me I died for 16 minutes on the table."I had a heart attack, my lungs collapsed, my kidneys stopped and then my organs all stopped I was told. They had given up on me."The first thing I remember is the feeling of sinking into black. I suppose that was me dying. Then I remember hearing one of the doctors saying 'he is alive'."He said: "I was in hospital a total of six weeks. I am now totally healed, have no brain injury which is pretty unheard of for what I have come through."Andrew admitted he had not believed in God."I am not a Christian nor a church-goer but I do believe this is a miracle. I know it was God who saved me."I am going to change my life now this has happened because I have been given a second chance."Last night the Rev Stephen Williamson from Ballywillan Presbyterian Church – who once worked in divine healing – said he did not want to comment specifically on Andrew's injuries because he had no personal knowledge of it.He said: "Miracles can happen. No miracles on that scale have happened in my experience. But I have contacts all around the world who report incredible things happening. If you read through the New Testament amazing things were happening and God has not changed but what may have changed along the way is our expectation."Even the fact we are talking about a miracle it is something out of the ordinary. Not the normal way that God would work. It is something beyond our understanding whether it happened medically or spiritually."To say that God cannot do that would be wrong because that limits what God is.
We believe that God is all powerful and therefore quite capable of bringing something back from the dead but it is not something that happens normally.”Last night, a spokeswoman from the Royal Victoria Hospital said: “We can confirm this man was a recent patient in intensive care.” She declined to comment on his injuries.

The Belfast News Letter


Wednesday, 18 June 2008

THINKING IT OUT !

The philosopher takes a coffee-break
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SARTRE'S COFFEE
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The French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre was sitting in a cafe when a waitress approached him: "Can I get you something to drink, Monsieur Sartre?"
Sartre replied, "Yes, I'd like a cup of coffee with sugar, but no cream".
Nodding agreement, the waitress walked off to fill the order and Sartre returned to working. A few minutes later, however, the waitress returned and said, "I'm
sorry, Monsieur Sartre, we are all out of cream -- how about with no milk?"

FACING THE MUSIC !


O.K. NOW, SIT UP !

BRAINY ?
.
It’s that time of year again when the summer holiday season is nigh upon us and those hazy lazy days are rolling out before us. With the bodies bristling under scorching sunshine (fingers crossed!) and the brain in mortal danger of atrophy from lack of activity, we have compiled this stash of mind benders to keep you in intellectual ship-shape! Also participating in this exercise shows solidarity with all those poor beleaguered students sitting their Leaving Certs around now.The answers will be revealed in a future blog in a week or two…so get to it. ~GOSh.~






<< This picture should reveal a man playing a saxophone and a young woman!


1. A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms. The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven't eaten in 3 years. Which room is safest for him?



Say the words aloud and then the colour as fast as you can, you willprobably fluff a few words as your brain strains to alternate between its left and right side! >>

2. What is black when you buy it, red when you use it, and grey when you throw it away?


3 Can you name three consecutive days without using the words Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday?



4. This is an unusual paragraph. I'm curious how quickly you can find out what is so unusual about it. It looks so plain you would think nothing was wrong with it. In fact, nothing is wrong with it! It is unusual though. Study it, and think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you work at it a bit, you might find out.




Apparently there are nine people concealed in this picture...spot six and your average get all nine and open up your own private-eye service! >>


Tuesday, 17 June 2008

In Christ Alone Worship Video with Lyrics


This stirring hymn from the pens of Keith Getty and Stuart Townend lifts the heart and refreshes the spirit. Sit back and enjoy !

FAITH


It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed
you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows
and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with
such big branches that the birds of the air
can perch in its shade.”. (Mark 4:30-33)
,
.

from... THE ANCIENT SAGE

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Thou canst not prove the Nameless, O my son,

Nor canst thou prove the world thou movest in,

Thou canst not prove that thou art body alone,

Nor canst thou prove that thou art spirit alone,

Nor canst thou prove that thou art both in one:

Thou canst not prove thou art immortal, no

Nor yet that thou art mortal—nay my son,
Thou canst not prove that I, who speak with thee,

Am not thyself in converse with thyself,

For nothing worthy proving can be proven,

Nor yet disproven: wherefore thou be wise,

Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt,

And cling to Faith beyond the forms of Faith

She reels not in the storm of warring words,

She brightens at the clash of ‘Yes’ and ‘No’,

She sees the Best that glimmers thro’ the Worst,

She feels the Sun is hid but for a night,

She spies the summer thro’ the winter bud,

She tastes the fruit before the blossom falls,

She hears the lark within the songless egg,

She finds the fountain where they wail’d ‘Mirage’!

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Alfred Lord Tennyson


A TOWER OF SONG

Onstage in Dublin
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LEONARD ON LISBON
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The living legend that is Leonard Cohen played a couple of concerts in Dublin recently to packed and appreciative crowds. At 73 the master wordsmith and purveyor of smooth tunes regaled the audiences with his finely honed songs and wry humour. At the end of one of the concerts the following topical comment was uttered to a delighted audience by the one with the 'golden voice'...


"You had a vote on Europe during the week".
The crowd cheers.
"Congratulations to you Ireland.
Still bewildering the world".

Saturday, 14 June 2008

THE LISBON TREATY

IRELAND SAYS 'NO'
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Friday June 13 will be remembered as the day that the Irish people gave a resounding NO to the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. As the only country amongst the EU who had to hold a referendum on the Treaty, Ireland was in a unique position and despite all three main political parties advocating a yes vote the electorate decided otherwise by a sizable majority of 53.4% against and 46.6% in favour. I think most people sensed a lack of accountability and basic democracy at the heart of the European parliament where several high offices would not be elected directly by the people, and also there seemed to be an unnecessarily heavy emphasis on updating of individual states defence capability. Now that the people have spoken our politicians are less than happy and already the usual European heavyweights are chastising us for our ‘unwise’ choice while the European union has gone in to a time of ‘reflection‘. What emerges from that time of reflection is anyone’s guess but it seems likely that the other 26 states will carry on regardless ,ignoring what Sarkozy has already referred to as the ‘Irish incident’…so much for democracy. Apparently the freedom of choice is guaranteed as long as everyone says YES, and as with a previous Niece Treaty if necessary the referendum will be repeated until we all say YES. Economically Ireland has benefited hugely from EU membership over the last decades, but the level of interference by EU legislation irritates and worries many, the spectre of a super World Government looming larger as the Union solidifies its position. Most people are all for a mutually beneficial union of the European states but few have the stomach for a United States of Europe with a common political and defensive strategy. This for most is a bridge too far and it seems that’s the way the Lisbon Treaty was perceived and rejected on this historic day !
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Gerard O'Shea

Friday, 13 June 2008

THE FLORIDA REVIVAL

Todd Bentley prays for a miracle
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WHAT'S GOING ON ?
.
For over 70 nights now Todd Bentley has been holding meetings in Lakeland Florida where thousands gather to worship God and seek a miracle ! It seems many have been miraculously healed of a variety of conditions in what has been called an ‘outpouring’ or revival. The strange phenomena at the meetings, Bentley's tattooed body and his emphasis on angelic messengers have all engendered much debate amongst believers and loads of controversy. As the nightly meetings are going out live over GOD TV the revival is having repercussions globally with similar meetings starting up around the world. I have no definitive word on the Florida Revival but I have watched it with a mixture of scepticism…interest…challenge and genuine awe at times. I’ve tried to sum up my evolving reaction in the poem below...
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Signs and wonders, oh my God
Miracles on faiths demand…
The lame are walking and the blind see
Touched by a tattooed hand.

Through his lips secrets revealed
The very spot in which you ache
By Divine knowledge imparted
Yours for the asking just reach and take.

Oh the glory oh Gods glory
Drips like honey from heavens throne
Those below are rapt in awe
Lifting hands and hearts to God.

My heart and head strain to believe
That Gods spirit has come as fire,
Seeing these strange acts unfold
Searching out my true hearts desire.

As Gamaliel said long ago
This is either God or man
The one will surely one day fold
And the other will forever stand.

Can any good thing come out of Nazareth ?
They said before of the King of Kings,
We need to look beyond the visible
To lay hold of Godly things.

Like David young and small selected
To fight Goliaths mighty power,
The little lad with stone and sling
Was Gods anointed for that hour.

Or Moses stuttering with passions stirred
Who killed a man in a fit of rage
Was chosen by God above all his peers
To free His people and see His face.

We dare not despise what God calls clean
We are not in the place to judge
Only the Shepherd knows His sheep
Only He will bring them home.

Lord above melt my heart
Remove all stony soil of doubt
Breathe your warmth and fire within
To cast all sin and hardness out.
.

Gerard O'Shea


Tuesday, 10 June 2008

SIGN OF THE TIMES

I'm indebted to Jim King for this satirical
take on the rocketing price of fuel

THE PEOPLES PARK

A Grand Green Excess
.
SUMMERTIME
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Thanks to the intolerable cruelty of a work related course this morning ,I found myself free for a glorious summer interlude in the afternoon. With uncustomary foresight I had packed a picnic before leaving the house and as soon as I was released from my vocational commitment I skipped up to the Peoples Park in the heart of Limerick city. Here summer is celebrating in grand green excesses midst sheltering trees and fragrant rose-beds !
The origins of the Park stretches back to the 19th. century, 1877 to be precise when it was opened in memory of Richard Russell a prominent businessman of the time, so for the last two hundred years it has been an oasis of retreat from the din and commerce of the city. On this afternoon, the lawns and benches are festooned with workers from the nearby offices indulging in a little solar therapy on their lunch hour…large groups of students congregate squat legged in circles between throws of a Frisbee …old men saunter along the meandering paths walking their dogs…children playing ball and toddlers taking first tentative steps as daisies press between their toes…proud grannies wheeling their children’s offspring out in the blaze of the summer sun, babies peering out from under large floppy bonnets.
The hum of distant traffic only accentuates the liberating feeling of escape in this tranquil landscape as the words of an old John Denver song seems to waft in the very air…“Find yourself a piece of grassy ground…Lay down close your eyes…Find yourself and maybe loose yourself…While your free spirit flies…” Here is summer at full throttle, the sound of children at play, the thud thud of a bouncing ball, the swishing of the stately trees in the gentle summer wind and the general feeling of health and well-being permeating the very atmosphere in this distillation of time and space!
Once again the Park has drawn to itself its native citizens…the people ! Lured from the hard streets to this pastoral island which is truly ,on this June afternoon, the Peoples Park !


Gerard O'Shea

Saturday, 7 June 2008

THE RUTH FACTOR

Naomi with Ruth and Orpah
in a drawing by Chagall
.
WORDS SPOKEN
WORDS LIVED !
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One of my favourite stories in the Bible is the little book of Ruth which is tucked in between the weightier tomes of Judges and 1 Samuel. It tells the story of Naomi and her two daughters-in-law Ruth and Orpah and the events which unfolded after the two girls lost their husbands and Naomi her sons. Three women alone in the land of Moab without a male to provide and protect was not a viable proposition in the patriarchal culture of those days, so the mother-in-law decided to return to her own place of Bethlehem, encouraging the girls to remain behind and find husbands for themselves. Orpah shed a few crocodile tears and took Naomi's advice and remained behind but the Bible says that Ruth clung to Naomi saying, “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)
Unlike Oprah's half-hearted speech Ruth backed up these high sentiments with concrete action and refused to abandon her aged mother-in-law. Jewish tradition says that Orpah turned back just four miles outside of Moab and that she shed only four tears over the thought of parting from her mother-in-law Naomi. But the rabbis go on to say that in recompense for the four miles that she went with Naomi, Orpah gave birth to four sons - Goliath and his three brothers ! How different was to be faithful Ruth's fate ! Ruth by her act of obedience and selflessness earned her place in the genealogical line of the Messiah,Jesus. The King James in just five words succinctly records the place of Ruth the Moabitess in the blood line of Jesus of Nazareth…“Boaz begot Obed of Ruth…” (Matthew 1:5) What seemed back in Moab like a small act of fidelity from a daughter-in-law towards her late husbands mother, became in the fullness of time a pivotal link in the chain of events which would usher in a Saviour for the world. There are no small decisions, each day we choose a path that may have eternal consequences. The Scripture adjures us to make wise choices and Joshua challenges us to “Choose this day whom you will serve.?” (Joshua 14:25) Our answer to that particular request will have reprecussions not just here but for eternity !


Gerard O'Shea

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

REVELATION !

Oops !
.

HIS FIRST CONFESSION

.

A parish priest was being honoured at a dinner on the twenty- fifth anniversary of his arrival in that parish. A leading local politician, who was a member of the congregation, was chosen to make the presentation and give a little speech at the dinner, but he was delayed in traffic, so the priest decided to say his own few words while they waited. "You will understand," he said, "the seal of the confessional, can never be broken. However, I got my first impressions of the parish from the first confession I heard here. I can only hint vaguely about this, but when I came here twenty-five years ago I thought I had been assigned to a terrible place. The very first chap who entered my confessional told me how he had stolen a television set, and when stopped by the police, had almost murdered the officer. Further, he told me he had stolen money from his parents, embezzled money from his place of business, had an affair with his boss's wife, and taken illegal drugs. I was appalled. But as the days went on I knew that my people were not all like that, and I had indeed come to a fine parish full of understanding and loving people." Just as the priest finished his talk, the politician arrived full of apologies at being late. He immediately began to make the presentation and give his talk. "I'll never forget the first day our parish priest arrived in this parish," said the politician. "In fact, I had the honour of being the first one to go to him for confession."



Tuesday, 3 June 2008

ROYAL EDICTS...


KING DAVID

AND

KING SOLOMON

King David and King Solomon
Led merry, merry lives,
With many, many lady friends
And many, many wives;
But when old age crept over them,
With many, many qualms,
King Solomon wrote the Proverbs,
And King David wrote the Psalms.

J.B.Naylor