You alone suffice

Context: After having the most astonishing, wonderful, joyful and liberating day yesterday, today’s blog just poured out as soon as I woke and started to pray this morning.

My grace suffices thee: for my power is perfected in weakness.
(2 Corinthians 12:9; LET). 

Yahweh,
You alone suffice:
My hiding-place,
My paradise;
My book, my priest,
My light, my peace –
I love you.

Yahweh,
You alone are God:
My resting-place,
My staff, my rod;
My night, my day,
My truth, my way –
I love you.

Yahweh,
You alone are good:
My dwelling-place,
My flesh, my blood;
My jubilee,
My liberty –
I love you.

Yahweh,
You alone are bliss:
My life, my death,
My longed-for kiss;
My welcome home,
My great shalom
I love you.

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


Reference

Shalom is a Hebrew word meaning peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility. It can refer to either peace between two entities (especially between a person and God, or between two countries), or to the well-being, welfare or safety of an individual or a group of individuals (Wikipedia).

What is prayer?

We do not know how to pray as we ought.
(Romans 8:26; NRSV).

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

Prayer is sharing every thought,
Sensation, feeling, word and deed
With God.

Prayer is sharing all our weakness,
Judgement, sin and selfishness
With God.

Prayer is sharing stillness, silence,
Darkness, need and loneliness
With God.

Prayer is sharing all our joys and sorrows,
Pain, fear, life and death
With God.

Prayer is listening, trusting, loving –
Facing all we undergo
With God.

Yea, though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
(Psalm 23:4; KJV).


References 

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

Pray about everything (Philippians 4:6; NLT).

Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge (Psalm 62:8; NLT).

Birth to bliss

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born (Matthew 1:18; NLT). 

Birth to bliss, and bliss to birth:
Christ, Messiah, here on earth.
Bliss to birth, and birth to bliss:
Now, receiving Mary’s kiss.

Light to dark, and dark to light:
Christ, transfigured, shining bright.
Dark to light, and light to dark:
Now, in anguish, broken heart.

Sweat to blood, and blood to sweat:
Jesus, weeping, facing death.
Blood to sweat, and sweat to blood:
Crucified, his pain is love.

Death to life, and life to death:
Jesus takes his final breath.
Life to death, and death to life:
He comes again, to end all strife.

Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him (Hebrews 9:28; NLT).

References

Christ died and rose again for this very purpose – to be Lord both of the living and of the dead (Romans 14:9; NLT).

The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war any more (Isaiah 2:4; NLT). 

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” (Revelation 21:3-4; NLT). 

God’s presence

I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth.
(Psalm 116:9; NLT). 

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NIV).

🌺 To live in God’s presence is rejoice all the time, and to rejoice all the time is to live in his presence. Nothing in life or death can ever separate us from his love, which is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

🌺 To live in God’s presence is to pray constantly, and to pray constantly is to live in his presence. There is nothing we can ever feel, think, say, or do that we don’t share with him, and that he doesn’t share with us.

🌺 To live in God’s presence is to give thanks in all circumstances, and to give thanks in all circumstances is to live in him. There is nothing we can ever experience that he doesn’t send, and from which he will not bring good.

In all things God works for the good of those who love him.
(Romans 8:28; NIV).


References

Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts, fully trusting him (Hebrews 10:20-22; NLT).

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence (Ephesians 3:12; NLT).

Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-9; 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).

Wait quietly

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him
(Psalm 62:5; NLT).

Be silent before the Sovereign Lord
(Zephaniah 1:7; NIV).

1. Wait quietly with God,
Who hears your silent prayers.
Talk quietly with God,
Who feels your silent cares.

2. Walk quietly with God,
Who sees your silent fears.
Weep quietly with God,
Who soothes your silent tears.

3. Work quietly with God,
Who knows your silent aim.
Sit quietly with God,
Who shares your silent pain.

4. Plead quietly with God,
Who loves your silent trust.
Dwell quietly with God,
Who forms you out of dust.

5. Grow quietly with God:
Make this your only goal.
Rest quietly with God:
His Spirit is your soul.

I will put my Spirit in you,
and you will live (Ezekiel 37:14; CSB). 

The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7; KJV).


References 

1. When you pray, don’t babble on …for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him (Matthew 6:7-8; NLT).

Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely (Psalm 139:4; NIV).

2. Walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8; NLT). 

You are the God who sees me (Genesis 16:13; NIV).

When the cares of my heart are many, thy consolations cheer my soul (Psalm 94:19; RSV).

3. The Lord knows all human plans (Psalm 94:11; NIV). 

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him (Psalm 62:5; NLT). 

In all their suffering he also suffered (Isaiah 63:9; NLT). 

4. He is my God, and I trust him (Psalm 91:2; NLT).

I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever (Psalm 23:6; KJV). 

The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7; KJV). 

5. Learn to know your Creator and become like him (Colossians 3:10; NLT). 

Let love be your highest goal (1 Corinthians 14:1; NLT).

You have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you (1 John 2:27; NLT).

Don’t you realise that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself for God bought you with a high price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; NLT).

He jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us (James 4:5; NIV).

The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).

More like Jesus

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him (Colossians 3:10; NLT). 

1. The more like Jesus we become,
The less we need to say
In prayer,
For, as our minds grow more like his,
We share our thoughts all day.

2. The more like Jesus we become,
The less we need to fear,
Or grieve,
For, as our hearts grow more like his,
We share each dread and tear.

3. The more like Jesus we become,
The less we need to ask
Of him,
For, as our souls grow more like his,
We share his sacred task.

4. The more like Jesus we become,
The less we need to cling
To life,
For here, on earth, and after death,
We’re wholly one with him.

This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ (Ephesians 4:13; NLT).

You …are complete through your union with Christ
(Colossians 2:10; NLT).


References 

1. We are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him (1 John 3:2; NLT). 

When you pray, don’t babble on …for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him (Matthew 6:7-8; NLT).

Be silent before the Sovereign Lord (Zephaniah 1:7; NIV).

We have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; NLT).

Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely (Psalm 139:4; NIV).

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5; NIV).

2. Do not be afraid, for I am with you (Genesis 26:24; NLT).

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

He knows the secrets of every heart (Psalm 44:21; NLT).

In all their suffering he also suffered (Isaiah 63:9; NLT).

3. 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 3:9; NLT).

I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace (Acts 20:24; NIV). 

All of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him (2 Corinthians 5:18; NLT). 

My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life (John 10:10; NLT).

4. Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord (Romans 14:8; NIV).

If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it (Matthew 10:39; NLT). 

Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us (Colossians 3:11; NLT).

I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me (John 17:23; NLT). 

The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).

How we look

Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles,
expensive jewellery, or beautiful clothes
(1 Peter 3:3; NLT).

Christ is all that matters,
and he lives in all of us (Colossians 3:11; NLT).

1. How we look, Lord,
Doesn’t matter:
You are all, in all.

2. Rituals
Are not important:
You are all, in all. 

3. Suffering, Lord,
Doesn’t matter:
You are all, in all.

4. Even death, Lord,
Makes no difference:
You are all, in all. 

Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord
(Romans 14:8; NIV).


References 

1. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God (1 Peter 3:4; NLT). 

2. I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings (Hosea 6:6; NIV). 

3. The Lord will make you go through hard times, but he himself will be there to teach you, and you will not have to search for him any more (Isaiah 30:20; GNT). 

He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10; NIV). 

4. I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-9; NLT). 

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).

Celtic Christianity (#1 of 2)

Pray about everything (Philippians 4:6; NLT).

Pray throughout each task you do:
Ask the Lord to strengthen you.
Extol his name both night and day,
And glorify him, come what may.

Care for everyone you meet.
Welcome sickness and defeat.
Adore creation, sing, rejoice,
And listen for his still, small voice.

Grasp how life and death combine:
Play your part in God’s design.
Accept that everything must cease,
And revel in his perfect peace.

Worship; value all he sends.
Thank him when your time here ends,
Then leave your body far behind –
Return to God: bliss unconfined!

Into your hands I commit my spirit (Psalm 31:5; NIV).

The dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it
(Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).

Heal our hatred

“O Lord,” I prayed, “have mercy on me.
Heal me, for I have sinned against you”
(Psalm 31:4; NLT).

1. Lord,
Heal our hatred
With your love,
Our lies and boasting
With your breath;
Our lust for power
With your tears,
Our cruelty
With your distress.

2. Lord,
Heal our malice
With your blood,
Our greed and envy
With your pain;
Our barbarism
With your death:
Then we will all
Be whole again.

He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole
(Isaiah 53:5; NLT).


References 

1. He loves us with unfailing love (Psalm 117:2; NLT).

He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22; NLT).

Jesus wept (John 11:35; NLT).

He became anguished and distressed (Matthew 26:37; NLT). 

2. The blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7; NLT).

Christ suffered physical pain (1 Peter 4:1; NLT).

Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3; NASB95).

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