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:

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!

15.11.22: Even me?

Context: This prayer was written a few days ago, but being unable to write at present (because I’m ill with Covid), has given me an unexpected opportunity to use it here today.

NB: My husband started to feel ill yesterday, and has now also tested positive for covid, so we are in isolation.

God already loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God (John 16:27; TIB).

Lord,

Do you love even me?
And do you hear my every plea?
And do you really set me free?
You do.

You’re the way, the door, the key.
You teach, forgive and guide. You see
My sins, yet still you guarantee
It’s true.

Yahweh, Son and Spirit: Three
In One, God for eternity –
May all believe, and bow the knee
To you.

“As surely as I live,” says the Lord, “every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God” (Romans 14:11; NIV).


References:

Christ has truly set us free (Galatians 5:1; NLT).

He hears us (1 John 5:14; NLT).

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6; NLT).

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7; NKJV).

You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life (Deuteronomy 30:20; NLT).

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11; NLT).


Reading: Isaiah 45:22-24; NIV

Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth;

For I am God, and there is no other.

By myself I have sworn,

My mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked:

Before me every knee will bow;

By me every tongue will swear.

They will say of me, “In the LORD alone are deliverance and strength.”

7.10.22: Here I am

Context: Yesterday I woke up very late. Whilst I lay still, praying without words and longing to see into my soul again, this prayer arrived:

Here I am. Did you call me? (1 Samuel 3:5; NLT). 

Here I am, Lord. Did you call me?
Speak: I long to hear your voice.

You are all in all to me, Lord,
Speak, for I have made my choice –

You’re my faith, my hope, my Saviour,
You’re my God, my great High Priest;

You’re my bread, my living water,
You’re my wine, my inner peace;

You’re my fire, my strength, my spirit,
You’re the light within my soul;

You’re my way, my truth, my life,
And you’re the One who makes me whole.

Jesus, though I’m weak and sinful,
You will come to set me free –

Speak; your servant, Lord, is listening,
And you’re everything to me.

Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening (1 Samuel 3:9; NIV).

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 3:8-9; NLT).


 Reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-10; NIV.

The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.

One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the LORD, where the ark of God was.

Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”

Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.

A third time the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy.

So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

3.10.22: I weep

Context: I’m so drained that I’m finding prayer very difficult. Depression is creeping closer, threatening to overwhelm me. Two days ago I sat on the floor with my back resting against the wall, attempting to pray. After a time of silence, this little poem arrived:

I weep with sorrow (Psalm 119:28; NLT). 

1. I weep with pain and sorrow, Lord,
With loneliness, and grief.

2. Weariness destroys my freedom,
Sickness is a thief.

3. Anguish closes over me,
It suffocates, like sin,

4. Yet still your love beats in my blood,
For you, Lord, live within.

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


References 

1.He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Matthew 26:37-9; NLT). 

2.Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go (John 21:18; NIV). 

3.Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me (Psalm 42:7; NIV).

4.You are the temple of the living God (Luke 17:21; NKJV).

Don’t you realise that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16; NLT).

26.9.22: Emotional healing

Context: I’m in London today, facing a battery of specialised medical tests. It’s only 5am, but I’m having a very early breakfast, as I have to fast for several hours before arriving at the hospital.

This blog considers how free-will, honesty and forgiveness contribute to emotional healing. Each of these factors builds on the one before, until healing is complete. This completion can take place progressively, during life, or instantaneously, at death, when we meet Christ face to face.

He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted (Luke 4:18; NKJV). 

Introduction
Emotional healing is a lifelong process of personal growth in mind, heart and soul. It is brought about by revelation and personal insight, which gradually help us to change how we think, speak, behave and feel.

1. Free-will
Let’s begin with free-will. In order to be healthy, all personal change needs to be based on independent choice. Changes which are expected, required, demanded, imposed, or forced upon us by others can never bring about deep, inner healing.

2. Honesty
Similarly, if we try to make ourselves change in order to become an idealised version of ourselves, we are only suppressing how we honestly feel or think, and what we really want to say or do. This is a very unhealthy, incongruent and inauthentic way to live, which stores up further emotional problems for the future. There is no substitute for learning to speak the truth in love.

3. Forgiveness
Next comes forgiveness, another essential, inescapable aspect of inner healing. It can take years to feel forgiven for all the bad things we have thought, said and done. Furthermore, genuinely forgiving those who have hurt us can be equally difficult.

This process is facilitated by being honest with those who have hurt us, forgiving them, and working towards reconciliation, if possible. We can also apologise to those we have hurt, asking them to forgive us.

If those involved are no longer available, all this can still be done through honest prayer.

4. Emotional healing
Free-will, honesty and forgiveness help us to take responsibility for fostering the long-term healing God offers. We can do this by:

  • Being honest with ourselves, others and God
  • Developing insight into ourselves and our behaviour
  • Praying simply and honestly, as children do
  • Learning from experience
  • Learning from books
  • Learning from good role-models
  • Offering healthy, honest, equal, loving relationships to everyone

As we change and grow, we can slowly be healed in mind, heart and soul over the course of our lifetime. Gradually our thinking, speech and behaviour become more honest, more loving, and more genuinely aligned with God’s will for us, progressively promoting our emotional healing.

Conclusion
Through reflecting on the role of free-will, honesty and forgiveness in the process of emotional healing, I have come to see these four concepts as being essentially indivisible. Thus, as we freely choose to become more honest, more forgiving, and more Christ-like, we are slowly healed in mind, heart and soul.

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


References

1. Accept, I beseech thee, the free-will offerings of my mouth, O Lord (Psalm 119:108; WEB).

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

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

3. Forgive us our sinsas we forgive those who sin against us (Luke 11:4; NLT). 

4. I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15:26; NLT).

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5; NIV).

The Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18; NLT). 

Enlightenment

Context: Today has been a very medical day, with help from my doctor and from the anti-coagulation clinic, then organising two week’s worth of medication. In the afternoon I had to  make an urgent visit to my ophthalmologist, who diagnosed ulcers and an abrasion in my right eye. This was followed by a dash to the pharmacy for steroids and antibiotics. I’ve also got a migraine, which helps to explain how I came to post this blog accidentally, before it was finished. Once I discovered my error, I put it right, but email followers received the first version, for which I apologise. Tomorrow is another day…

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” (John 8:12; NLT). 

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 15:6; NLT).

I will never be enlightened
Without Jesus,
For Jesus is the way
I want to take.
He teaches me the path
Through life to heaven,
And helps me change and grow
For his name’s sake.

I will never be enlightened
Without Jesus,
For Jesus is the truth
That sets me free.
He opens every door
That blocks my progress,
Then leads me through,
For he has ransomed me.

I will never be enlightened
Without Jesus,
For Jesus is the life
I want to lead.
He walks beside me,
Loving, kind, unfailing:
My strength, my fire, my peace –
My living creed.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,”
and believe in your heart that God raised him
from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 19:9; NIV).


References 

This was the true light that enlightens every person by his coming into the world (John 1:9; ISV). 

Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9; NIV). 

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). 

The Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18; NLT). 

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free (Luke 4:18; NIV). 

Jesus

Context: As soon as I woke up in my own familiar bedroom yesterday morning, I received today’s prayer with an indescribable sense of peace, gratitude and joy:

I am with you at all times, even to the end of the world.
(Matthew 28:20; HNT). 

Jesus Christ is here today,
Tomorrow and for evermore,

Bringing liberty for captives,
Giving good news to the poor;

Forgiving sins and healing blindness,
Setting free the long-oppressed, 

Crowning us with love and mercy,
Saving all from sin and death.

Thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:57; NLT).


References

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8; NLT).

The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come (Luke 4:18-19; NLT). 

He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things (Psalm 103:3-5; NLT). 

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

A journey

Context: Yesterday, as soon as I woke up, I was taken on a journey around and beyond the world. There was no time to pray. Whilst it was happening, I was able to write down what I saw and understood, which has never happened to me before. I had no sense of time passing or of movement, and no awareness of my body or its surroundings.

The experience ended as soon as I had written down the last few words. I don’t know how long it lasted – perhaps an hour or two. Then I became aware of my body, and was very surprised to find myself in bed in my holiday flat, feeling truly awed and astonished by all I had seen. I might easily have thought I had simply been dreaming, except for all I had written down during my journey. Here is the essence of what I wrote:

I am God, and not a man –
the Holy One among you 
(Hosea 11:9; NIV). 

1. God is neither male nor female,
Black nor white, not straight or gay,

2. Not Orthodox, or Catholic,
Or Protestant: God is The Way.

3. God is not Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim,
Buddhist, Jain, or Sikh,

4. Nor any other great world faith,
For God is light, and love, and peace.

5. God is Spirit, here, within us all –
The grace that sets us free.

6. God’s truth, consuming fire, and strength
Are pearls beyond all price, to me.

The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant’s search for fine pearls. When one pearl of great value was found, the merchant went back and sold everything else and bought it (Matthew 13:45-6; TIB).


References 

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

2. Keep in mind that God’s greatness exceeds our knowledge; God’s vastness is a mystery (Job 36:26; TIB). 

I am the way (John 14:6; NIV).

God’s way is perfect (2 Samuel 22:31; NLT).

God is love (1 John 4:8; NLT).

Follow the way of love (1 Corinthians 14:1; NIV). 

3. God is greater than we can understand (Job 36:26; NLT). 

4. God is light (1 John 1:5; NLT).

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

5. God is Spirit (John 4:24; NLT). 

We are the temple of the living God (2 Corinthians 6:16; NLT).

When we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin (Romans 6:7; NLT).

God’s grace has set us free from the law (Romans 6:15; NLT).

6. The Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6; NKJV).

God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; NIV).

The Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength (Isaiah 26:4; KJV).

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). 

Thank you

Context: Yesterday I went to watch my grandson have his riding lesson. This brought back memories from so long ago that they seemed to come from a previous life, when I was able-bodied. However, it is God who gives and takes away, so I’m entirely happy to be as I am now.

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
(Job 1:21; CSB). 

Thank you, Lord, for all you send,
For all you share, and all you lend;
For all you do, and all you make –
For all you give, and take.

Thank you, Lord, for life and breath,
For joy and pain, for birth and death;
For Christ, who came to set us free –
For loving even me.

Thank you, Lord, beyond all time,
For I am yours, and you are mine,
And though you wound me, yet you mend –
And always, Lord, defend.

For he wounds, but he also binds up;
he injures, but his hands also heal.
(Job 5:18; NIV). 


The angel of the LORD is a guard;
he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
(Psalm 34:7; NLT).