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). 

After the Eucharist (for J.K.)

Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you cannot have eternal life within you
(John 6:53; NLT).

Remain in me, and I will remain in you.
For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine,
and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me
(John 15:4; NLT). 

1. After the Eucharist,
Stay in my hands,
Then, all I touch will be blessed.
Stay on my tongue, Lord,
Remain in my thoughts,
Then I will pass every test.

2. After the Eucharist,
Stay in my heart,
Then, I’ll serve others with care.
Stay in my blood,
And remain in my bones,
Then, I’ll help others, through prayer.

3. After the Eucharist,
Stay in my life,
Till this long exile is done.
Stay in my spirit;
Remain in my soul –
Then, we will always be one.

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


References 

1. When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ? (1 Corinthians 10:16; NLT).

We …touched him with our own hands (1 John 1:1; NLT). 

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

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5; NKJV).

The Lord your God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul (Deuteronomy 13:3; NLT).

2. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:11; NLT). 

Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all (Mark 9:35; NIV).

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:40; NIV).

Don’t you know that your bodies are a part of Christ’s body? (1 Corinthians 6:15; CSB).

Pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them (1 Timothy 2:1; NLT).

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

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

Searching

Keep searching…

1. I’m searching, Lord, for perfect bread,
For perfect water; perfect wine.

2. I’m searching, Lord, for perfect truth,
For perfect hope, and light, and love.

3. I’m searching, Lord, for perfect peace,
For perfect freedom from all sin.

4. I’m searching for the perfect way
And finding you, Lord God, within.

…and you will find (Matthew 7:7; HCSB).

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


References

1. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever, and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh (John 6:51; NLT).

If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water (John 4:10; NLT).

He took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people – an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it” (1 Corinthians 11:25; NLT).

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

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13; NLT).

I am the light of the world (John 8:12; NLT).

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

3. You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you (Isaiah 26:3; NLT).

Now you are free from your slavery to sin (Romans 6:18; NLT).

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

Do you love Jesus?

Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” (John 21:16; NLT).

Do you love Jesus
More than clothes,
Than how you look,
Good times, or clubs? 

Do you love Jesus
More than food,
Than sweets, or alcohol,
Or drugs?

Do you love Jesus
More than cars,
Than money, power,
Sex, or health?

If not, consider this:
His love
Is better far
Than life itself. 

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

Our daily bread

Give us this day our daily bread
(Matthew 6:11; NKJV).

I am the living bread that came down from from heaven
(John 6:51; NLT).

1. Jesus is the only food
That matters:
His body is my bread;
His blood, my wine.

2. Jesus is the only church
That matters:
His teaching is my truth;
His word, my shrine.

3. Jesus is the only path
That matters:
His footsteps are my way;
His love, my light.

4. Jesus Christ the Lord
Is all that matters:
His Spirit is my Guide;
His cross, my life. 

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


References 

1. My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink (John 6:55; NIV). 

2. He is the Saviour of his body, the church (Ephesians 5:23; NLT). 

I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die! (John 8:51; NLT).

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

He is the Word of life (1 John 1:1; NLT).

When Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body (John 2:21; NLT). 

Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit (Ephesians 2:22; NLT). 

God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us (1 John 4:13; NLT).

How good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter (Psalm 73:28; NLT). 

3. God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21; NLT). 

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

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).

4. 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).

Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives (Galatians 5:16; NLT).

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God (1 Colossians 1:18; NLT).

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).

A step ahead

The Lord went ahead of them (Exodus 13:21; NLT). 

1. Lord,
You’re just a step ahead:
My hope, my strength, my wine, my bread;
I want to learn from all you said
And serve you.

2. Lord,
You’re always very near:
My help, when I am faced with fear;
I want to follow, thank, revere
And serve you.

3. Lord,
You’re just a breath away:
My light, my truth, my life, my way;
May I grow more like you each day
And serve you.

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine,
you did for me (Matthew 25:40; NIV).


References

1. My hope is in you (Psalm 39:7; CSB). 

The sovereign Lord is my source of strength Habakkuk 3 10; NET).

He took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people – an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it” (1 Corinthians 11:25; NLT). 

I am the living bread that came down from from heaven (John 6:51; NLT).

Learn from me (Matthew 11:29; NIV). 

Serve only the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 13:4. NLT). 

2. We give thanks because you are near, Lord (Psalm 75:1; NLT). 

God is my help (Psalm 54:4; NIV). 

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you (Psalm 56:3; NIV). 

Follow me and be my disciple (Matthew 9:9; NLT).

Give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18; NIV). 

Let all the people of the world revere him (Psalm 33:8; NIV).

Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all (Mark 9:35; NIV).

3. The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life (Job 33:4; NLT).

I am the light of the world (John 8:12; NLT).

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

Serve the Lord with all your heart (1 Samuel 12:20; NIV). 

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:40; NIV).

I pray for peace

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it
(Psalm 34:14; NIV).

I pray for peace in every mind,
In every heart, Lord,
Every soul.
May every life be filled with peace –
Forgive us;
Make us whole.

I pray that peace will reign on earth.
Lord, hear me:
Bring an end to war!
May every nation live in peace –
Today,
And evermore.

He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more (Isaiah 2:4; NIV).


References 

God is not a God of disorder but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33; NLT).

I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore (Ezekiel 37:26; RSV). 

A child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end (Isaiah 9:6-7; NIV).

God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross (Colossians 1:19-20; NIV).

This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel, that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all (Acts 10:36; NLT).

I will make peace your leader and righteousness your ruler. Violence will disappear from your land; the desolation and destruction of war will end. Salvation will surround you like city walls, and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there. No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set; your moon will not go down. For the Lord will be your everlasting light. Your days of mourning will come to an end. All your people will be righteous. They will possess their land forever (Isaiah 60:18-21; NLT).

Sad and angry

The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on the Lord (Psalm 14:2-4; NIV).

How sad and angry
You must be
To witness
All our cruelty,
Our hate,
And inhumanity –
Our lack of love,
Lord God.

I beg you
For a halt to strife,
Respect
For every human life,
Forgiveness,
And an end to war –
Then peace will reign
For evermore.

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

His government and its peace will never end (Isaiah 9:7; NLT).