1.12.22: Commitment

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind (Luke 10:27; NLT).

Commit your way to the Lord (Psalm 37:5; NLT). 

I want to give my mind to you
By thinking as I ought,
So I commit my exile here
To checking every thought.

I want to give my heart to you
By loving all each day,
So I commit my exile here
To following your way.

I want to give my soul to you
By walking at your side,
So I commit my exile here
To you, my faithful Guide.

I want to give my strength to you,
Although it’s very slight,
So I commit my exile here
To trusting in your might.

Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength (Isaiah 26:4; KJV). 

30.11.22: Time

Context: A few days ago I woke early, giving me the luxury of time to spend with Jesus, and out of that time, this little prayer gently arose:

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed (Mark 1:35; NIV). 

It’s good to lie awake with you, Lord Jesus,
To pray, and reunite, and hear your voice.

It’s good to share this time with you, Lord Jesus:
Despite my trials and sorrows, to rejoice. 

It’s good to say I’m sorry, ask forgiveness,
And beg you, Lord, to help us live in peace.

It’s good to spend this time alone with you, Lord,
Until the day when time, for me, will cease. 

Behold, I am with you every day, even unto the end of time (Matthew 28:20; ABPE).


References 

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33; NLT).

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:27; NLT). 

The Lord is peace (Judges 6:24; NLT).

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, 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. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30; NLT). 

29.11.22: I see

Context: I’ve tested negative for covid three times now, so despite my continuing fatigue, I decided to face yesterday’s scheduled pain treatment at the hospital. As I entered the building I began to pray for everyone there and for those around me in the busy foyer. Then I suddenly saw the oneness of all humanity, even though we temporarily inhabit separate, fragile bodies during our time on earth.

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; NLT). 

With joy, I see at last
That all are one

One mind, one heart, one soul,
Though billions strong.

We lodge in separate bodies, Lord,
It’s true,

Yet all remain forever
One in you.

You are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; NLT).

Your immortal spirit is in every one of them (Wisdom of Solomon 12:1; GNTA).

28.11.22: Life is sweet

Context: This prayer arrived in a rough form on Saturday, when I had a migraine. It wasn’t until yesterday, when I looked at it again, that I was able to see what it was saying, and put it into words:

After the fire came a still small voice (1 Kings 19:12; BSB). 

Listen to God’s voice,
So small, so still,
For life is sweet
When we accept his will. 

No matter what God sends,
Of good or bad,
When we say,”Yes”, like Christ,
Our hearts are glad.

No matter what God asks,
We have a choice –
So let’s say, “Thank you, Jesus”,
And rejoice. 

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NIV).


References 

Teach me to do your pleasure, because you are my God; your Spirit is sweet; you will lead me in the way of life (Psalm 143:10; ABPE). 

I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things (Isaiah 45:7; NLT).

I want your will to be done, not mine (Luke 22:42; NLT). 

The LORD must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion (Isaiah 30:18; NLT). 

Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you (Isaiah 30:20; NLT).

The laws of the LORD are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb (Psalm 19:9-10; NLT). 

How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey (Psalm 119:103; NLT).

27.11.22: Better than life

Context: Today’s prayer arrived early yesterday morning when I woke at around 4am with a migraine. After taking my medications, I sat propped up in bed, alternately dozing and writing. These verses slowly emerged over the course of the day, finishing late in the evening:

What is sweeter than honey? (Judges 14:18; NLT). 

What’s sweeter than honey,
And choicer than wine?
Higher than knowledge,
And vaster than time?

What’s brighter than sunlight,
And greater than wealth?
Warmer than friendship,
And finer than health?

What’s stronger than sharing,
And deeper than love?
Kinder than giving,
And richer than blood?

What’s wiser than serving,
And dearer than breath?
Simpler than worship,
And closer than death?

What’s better than living,
And makes us all one?
It’s Christ, our salvation,
God’s dearly-loved Son.

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12; NLT).

This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy (2 Peter 1 17; NLT).


References

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him (Philippians 3:7; NLT).

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; NLT).

Your unfailing love is better than life itself (Psalm 63:3; NLT).

God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16; NLT).

26.11.22: You wake me

Context: I’m slowly improving after becoming ill with Covid just over two weeks ago. Yesterday I walked about 100 yards, which was exhausting, and resulted in a migraine.

Today I’d like to share a poem I wrote a short while ago. That day, I woke at about 5.30am. Still drowsy, I hoped to go back to sleep, but started to say The Lord’s Prayer, as usual. However, within moments my words ceased, as my soul was filled with the most delightful light, warmth and love. All too soon, I had to surface, so I could write about what I had experienced. It wasn’t easy to put into words, but here is the result:

God awakens me morning after morning – wakens my ear, to listen like a student (Isaiah 50:4; TIB). 

God of all people,
All creatures, all things,
You wake me so gently,
For sleep, Lord, still clings,

And over all people,
All creatures, all things,
You call to me softly:
The King of all kings.

You live through all people,
All creatures, all things,
And though I’m still drowsy
You give my soul wings,

Then, in all people,
All creatures, all things,
You stir up my spirit,
Until my heart sings. 

Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! (Zephaniah 3:14; NLT).

There is …one God and Creator of all, who is over all, who works through all and is within all (Ephesians 4:5-6; TIB).

25.11.22: Silence

Context: The days tend to blur into one with Covid, but there are signs of improvement. Yesterday, my husband made bread, we gratefully received our second batch of online grocery shopping, and I walked about 5o yards down the road, which was as much as I could manage. There was no traffic, and the light, waves and gulls gave a strange, dream-like quality to being out of doors. Afterwards, I was so tired that I fell asleep repeatedly.

Be silent before the Lord (Zechariah 2:13; NLT).

In the silence of my mind,
I praise you, Lord,
Who sets me free.

In the stillness of my heart,
I worship you
Continually.

In the darkness of my soul,
I seek your face
Unceasingly.

In the dying of my flesh,
I thirst
For your eternity.

I lift my hands to you in prayer. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain (Psalm 143:6; NLT).

I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? (Psalm 42:2; NLT).


Rosary news:

Following help I was given on Wednesday by a religious Sister, I made my first rosary with a centrepiece, which proved to be a game-changer. It’s holding together so far, with cautious, gentle handling:

24.11.22: In my dreams

Context: In dreams, I very rarely say or do anything overtly Christian, which seems both surprising and sad.

Yesterday morning I woke from a complicated, stressful dream, longing to pray. However, even before I could begin, this blog started to arrive. I tried hard to ignore it, which was impossible. It quickly became so loud and insistent that I had to give in, and write it down, like this:

I want to be a Christian
In my dreams,
To turn to you, and pray, Lord,
In my dreams;
To ask for your forgiveness
In my dreams,
Love others, Lord, and serve you –
In my dreams. 

I want to be a Christian
In my dreams,
So I can praise and thank you
In my dreams;
To revel in your presence
In my dreams,
And welcome all that happens –
In my dreams.

I want to be a Christian
In my dreams,
Then I will see your face, Lord,
In my dreams.
I’ll worship without ceasing
In my dreams,
And live in heaven on earth, Lord –
In my dreams.


Rosary news:

Well, since my most recent failure I’ve thought hard about rosary-making, watched some more YouTube videos, talked with my friend in the UK, and had a Zoom consultation with a lovely consecrated Sister who knows her rosaries. Then I threw the (metaphorical) rule-book into the (metaphorical) bin, and put together my own way of doing it, with the following result:

It seems very strong, and I’m tempted to ask my husband to test its joints, but don’t yet feel quite tough enough to deal with the disappointment if it immediately comes apart like the last one. Maybe I’ll ask him tomorrow….

NB: In the end, I plucked up my courage, he tested it, and it’s still in one piece so far!

23.11.22: Covid

Context: I have very long experience of living with chronic illness and fatigue, but it’s interesting to observe how wearing it is to have Covid on top of this. Although I tested negative for the first time last Sunday, my symptoms continue, and the virus certainly isn’t giving up its grip yet.

I’m vividly aware that all around the world hundreds of thousands have died of their infection, whilst countless others are suffering, or have been left disabled. My only coping technique is to say, “Yes”, to God at every moment, and to keep on whispering, “Thank you, Jesus.”

It’s impossible to predict the outcome of this illness for each individual, including me, so all I can do is to put my trust God, who brings good from everything, no matter what happens:

I love you, LORD; you are my strength (Psalm 18:1; NLT). 

I love you
As I wake again
To yet another
Day of pain.
Don’t leave me here
To live in vain,
I pray.

I love you,
And I seek your face.
I long to know
Your warm embrace,
Receive your kiss,
And share your grace –
One day.

I love you,
And I choose your will,
With thanks
For every good and ill.
Lord, help me, please,
For you are still
My Way.

Jesus told him, “I am the way” (John 14:6; NLT).


References 

Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless (Philippians 2:16; NLT). 

The LORD will work out his plans for my life – for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me (Psalm 138:8; NLT).

My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek (Psalm 27:8; NIV). 

May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace (Titus 1:4; NLT). 

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16; NIV). 

All of you share in God’s grace with me (Philippians 1:7; NIV). 

I want your will to be done, not mine (Luke 22:42; NLT). 

I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things (Isaiah 45:7; NLT). 

When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn (Psalm 142:3; NLT). 

Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left (Isaiah 30:21; NLT). 

22.11.22: Coming out!

Context: For a long time now, as some readers will know, I’ve been finding it more and more difficult to write as if God is somehow solely “masculine”.

There is considerable social and religious pressure regarding this issue, so it’s taken a lot of courage for me to “come out” by making some significant changes here on my website over recent weeks. As a Christian woman, I believe very deeply that God has no gender, but includes all that is masculine and feminine, as well as everything beyond. Anything less just doesn’t make sense to me.

However, because I’m ill with Covid at present, I’m having to post some pieces from my store-house, rather than writing new material every day. Unfortunately, I don’t have sufficient energy to replace all the previously-chosen Bible quotes with more modern versions using non-sexist language. This means that you may notice a few purely masculine pronouns for God still creeping in from time to time.

Despite this, it’s a great relief and joy to have “come out” as a Christian woman who believes passionately in the genderlessness and inclusiveness of God, and the unavoidable parallel truth of human equality. All this recently found expression in a rare, humorous poem about myself. As soon as I began to write down the first few words I was given, the rest simply flowed without hesitation:

Humankind was created as God’s reflection: in the divine image God created them; female and male, God made them (Genesis 1:27; TIB).

I’ve come out as a woman,
And it really does feel good:
A woman, and a Christian,
Made of real, live flesh and blood.

A woman with a mind and heart,
A woman with a soul:
A woman who has waited many years
To be made whole.

I’ve faced discrimination,
And I’ve worked through every test:
I’ve come out for equality –
It really is the best.

I’m a person in the image
Of the God who fashioned me:
No longer is there male and female,
One in Christ – I’m free.

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; NLT).


References

God is not a man (Numbers 23:19; NLT). 

God is Spirit (John 4:24; NLT).

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed and announce that the time has come when the Lord will save his people (Luke 4:18-19; GNT).


Rosary news

Covid makes it very hard to think straight, and to concentrate. After failing repeatedly to join on my crosses adequately, yesterday I came pretty close to thinking I would have to give up my rosary-making hopes altogether. However, later in the day I made one final attempt, whilst scrupulously following the instructions kindly supplied by my friend Maureen in the UK. This producing a nice-looking Fiat Rosary, which gave me fresh hope:

Very sadly, though, when I picked it up it to feel and enjoy it, the cord junction simply fell apart, so now I’ll have to start all over again. But at least I remembered to say, “Thank you, Jesus”, which was a real achievement, given the circumstances!