A message 19.6.22.

The Almighty …blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and the womb.
(Genesis 49:25; NIV).

✝️ Greetings and blessings to everyone who visits and follows here. I pray for you all each day.

This extra message is to let you know that from tomorrow onwards, I will be using inclusive language for my blogs wherever possible. When this goes beyond my writing ability, I will try to post two versions, one using the traditional male pronoun for God, and one using more inclusive language.

I’m well aware that whilst some people will welcome this change, others would find it a big challenge if I moved suddenly to expressing a wider understanding of God. I’ve  been pondering about how best to begin this transition for some time, but today God showed me this simple way forward, to my great joy.

Later the same day:

As I look back over my recent writing, it’s proving hard to find a piece that doesn’t already use inclusive language, so you may well not notice much difference. However, I still want to be upfront that this change is on its way.

I hope very much that those who find the change difficult will not reject these prayers out of hand. To begin with, when there are two versions of the day’s blog, I will always put the traditional version at the top of the page, so you need not look any further if that is more helpful for you. This is why I have arranged the photos illustrating this message with a more traditional choice above, and a more inclusive version at the end.

I pray that, in time, embracing a fuller and deeper understanding of God will become a huge blessing for us all. Please be patient whilst I learn to adapt the way I write. I’m sure there will be times when inclusivity will present me with a steep learning curve!

✝️ With love from Ruth xxxxx

As truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our mother.
(Revelations of Divine Love, Chapter 59, Julian of Norwich).

Personal change 16.5.22.

1. Diagnosis

My health has been deteriorating for several years, but I have never had an explanation for this. However, last Thursday I was given a diagnosis of Autonomic Neuropathy (AN).

AN is an incurable degenerative disorder, in which the brain loses the ability to regulate processes that normally happen automatically. It affects the functioning of multiple body systems, including, for example, heart rate, blood pressure, temperature control, bladder, digestion, eyesight, balance and energy.

There are several sub-types of AN. Some are more severe than others. Some progress more quickly than others. A battery of tests over the next few weeks and months should eventually indicate which type I have, how quickly I can expect to deteriorate, and my anticipated life-expectancy.    

2. Realisation

About a year ago, as my health deteriorated, I reached a point where I could no longer go to church. Since then, I have hoped in vain that some of the people there who I thought of as friends might notice my absence and make contact with me. However, only one member of my local congregation has stayed in touch.

Over the last few days I have realised how deeply I lack sources of spiritual nourishment with like-minded people. This has made me see that I need to stop hoping for contact, understanding and support from church, where there is so little available. Instead, I want to accept, share, and develop, relationships that are available to me, for example, with spiritually-minded friends online.

So, it’s time for me to start afresh, to change, and to focus much more on some reciprocal relationships. This feels like a very positive realisation. Indeed, it’s already leading me to explore a much more universal faith than is possible within the narrow confines of a single, rule-based denomination. 

With this new-found approach, I can start putting my very limited energy into seeking and finding God in everyone and everything, a prospect which fills me with joy. God really does work in mysterious ways, bringing good even out of situations that can appear wholly negative.

3. Recognition

Accordingly, yesterday, as I prepared my blog for posting, I found great pleasure in illustrating it with a wonderful photo of a woman priest joyfully celebrating communion. This simply  doesn’t happen in my denomination, where all women are automatically excluded from the priesthood, simply because of their gender. 

Using the photo of the woman priest made me recognise that I could also include photos of older women and disabled people amongst my website headers, so I spent a very happy hour or two on this task. Until today, my thinking had always been so blinkered that it had never occurred to me to do this.

4. Freedom

Right now, I feel my diagnosis of Autonomic Neuropathy is probably one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It has made me realise that I’ve only got one life here, and that it might be a lot shorter, more limited, and more unpleasant than I had previously imagined. So, as my heath and mobility deteriorate, I want to make the most of whatever freedom and independence I have, at each stage of this disorder.

However, I’m not thinking of the conventional “bucket list” of places I want to go to, or things I want to do before I die. Rather, I’m already experiencing a deep, joyful sense of inner freedom to be myself. This gives me space and permission to think what I think, believe what I believe, feel how I feel, and be how I am. I am also working on my outward freedom, by speaking the truth in love, and taking pleasure in doing what I still can, however limited this may be. 

5. Future 

I’m sharing all this with you because as I deteriorate, I will probably need to change my approach to blogging. This might mean expending less energy on formal, disciplined poetic structures, instead describing whatever spiritual insights God gives me in simpler, more direct prose.

Meanwhile, I’m feeling optimistic, the future looks exciting, and I will continue to post here each day for as long as I can.

✝️ My greetings to every follower and visitor to this website. I appreciate every one of you, and pray for you all each day.

With love and blessings, from Ruth xxxx


References 

1. Diagnosis

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows (John 16:33; NLT).

No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave (Psalm 89:48; NLT). 

2. Realisation

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).

Truly, O God of Israel, our Saviour, you work in mysterious ways (Isaiah 45:15; NIV). 

We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28; GNT).

3. Recognition

Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognised him (Luke 24:31; NLT).

God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27; NLT).

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; NIV).

The Almighty … blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and the womb (Genesis 49:5; NIV). 

“As truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our mother” (Revelations of Divine Love, Chapter 59, Julian of Norwich).

4. Freedom 

You will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32; NLT). 

If the Son sets you free, you are truly free (John 8:36; NLT).  

When you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go (John 21:18; NLT).

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me (Psalm 139:1; NLT).

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth (John 4:24; NIV).

You desire honesty from the womb (Psalm 51:6; NLT).

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10; NIV).

5. Future

Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts (Psalm 90:12; CSB).

Love

We know how much God loves us,
and we have put our trust in his love…

Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Lord, your love for me is true;
One in Three, and Three in One:
I have put my trust in you.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
You are God; you speak to all;
Three in One, and One in Three:
May I listen when you call.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Touch me; change me; make me good;
One in Three, and Three in One:
So I always dwell in love.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
May I live as one with Thee;
Three in One, and One in Three:
Then you’ll always live in me.

…God is love, and all who live in love live in God,
and God lives in them (1 John 4:16; NLT).

Save us!

Lord, save us! (Matthew 8:25; NLT). 

Save us, Lord! We live in thrall
To evil: please forgive us all.

Change each foolish human mind:
Lend us patience; make us kind.

Melt our hearts, Lord God, above:
Give us grace, so we may love.

Heal each fragile, human soul
And grant us wisdom: make us whole.

Give me wisdom (2 Chronicles 1:10; NIV). 

His hands make whole (Job 5:18; KJV).

 


I want to follow you


Then he [Jesus] said to the crowd,
“If any of you wants to be my follower,
you must turn from your selfish ways,
take up your cross daily, and follow me.”
(Luke 9:23; NLT).

Lord,
I want to follow you,
Turning away from selfishness –

Help me to bear my cross each day,
To listen, and obey.

Lord,
I want to live like you,
Changing and growing, all the time –

Help me to walk with you each day,
Choosing your narrow way.

Lord,
I want to love like you,
Caring for all who cross my path –

Help me to cherish them each day,
To nurture, serve, and pray.

Lord,
I want to be like you,
Trusting in God, and holding fast –

Then, no matter what life may bring,
I’ll see your face, at last.

🖤

When Christ appears, we shall be like him (1 John 3:2; NIV).

I will see your face (Psalm 17:15; NKJV).


Avoidance (for R.B.)

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33; NLT).

1. The more I avoid
The things I fear,
The worse my fears will grow:

Please help me, Lord,
To face my fears
As you did, long ago.

2. The more I confront
Whatever I fear,
The stronger I’ll become:

Please help me, Lord,
To face my fears
Each day, till life is done.

3. The sooner I begin
This task,
The faster I’ll be healed:

Please help me, Lord,
To face my fears,
Be brave, and never yield.

4. The more I make these truths
My guide,
The better I’ll succeed:

Please help me, Lord, 
To face my fears –
Then I’ll be free indeed.

🖤

I have come that they may have life,
and have it to the full.
(John 10:10; NIV).

 


References 

1. My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done (Matthew 26:42; NIV).

2. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand (Isaiah 41:10; NLT).

3. The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you” (Psalm 32:NLT). 

4. I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13; NLT).

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36; NIV).

You will indeed go out with joy and be peacefully guided; the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12; CSB). 


Maker of land

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden
to work it and take care of it (Genesis 2:15; NIV).

Maker of land, and sea,
And sky:
We have done wrong;
May we lament.

Author of darkness, cloud,
And fire:
Lord, we have sinned;
May we repent.

Sender of drought, disease,
And flood:
Teach us to care,
And change, as well,

For you give us birth, and life
And death:
But we turn your Eden
Into our hell.

✝️

The end of the world is coming soon (1 Peter 4:7; NLT).

 


Rest

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows
(John 16:33; NLT).

Father,

Life is tough,
And change is hard.

Please help me to live
More restfully,

By doing only one task at a time,
Never hurrying,

And taking the pressure off everything –
Even prayer,

Until my soul finds rest, at last,
In you.


My soul finds rest in God
(Psalm 62:1; NIV).

Rest

I have suffered from Chronic Fatigue since 2005. This means that my energy is always very limited. Exhaustion often forces me to rest, regardless of what I want, or need, to do.

Until today, I have always understood ‘rest’ as time spent sitting down, or being in bed.

However, to my astonishment, God has now shown me that rest can also be a state of mind, and even a way of life.

With this approach, whether or not I am active, living restfully means noticing my sensations, thoughts, and emotions as they occur, acknowledging their reality without judgement, then sharing them simply and honestly with God.

Hopefully, this process will teach me how I need to change in order to live more restfully, so I can be at peace with myself, with God, with others, and the world. 

References

My soul finds rest in God (Palm 62:1; NIV). 

May I serve you

Image: WikiImages, Pixabay

He has planted eternity in the human heart,
but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work
from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes 3:11; NLT).

1. May I serve you
Somehow, Lord, today.
Yet, if I cannot serve,
Help me to pray;
Or, if I cannot pray,
To feel you near.

2. But, if I cannot sense you,
I’ll wait here
As patiently, and calmly
As I can,
For you are God, unchanged
Since time began.


References

1. You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him (Luke 4:8; NLT).

Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me (Psalm 23:4; NLT).

2. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him (Psalm 37:7; NIV).

I have calmed and quieted myself (Psalm 131:2; NLT).

I am the Lord your God (Hosea 12:9; NKJV).

I am the Lord, and I do not change (Malachi 3:6; NLT)

Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God (Psalm 90:2; NLT). 

All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time (Jude 1:25; NLT).