27.1.23: All yours

On Wednesday, whilst getting dry after a shower, I surprised myself by saying aloud, “Thank you for my towel, Lord.” But then I saw in a flash that even the towel I was using was not actually mine. It was provided by God for me to use on earth, but I won’t be able to take it with me when I die, so it’s really just on loan for a while. This is also true of everything I think I possess, for nothing is actually mine. Then today’s blog began to arrive:

Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help (Isaiah 58:7; NLT). 

May I share what you send, Lord,
And give what you loan,
Since I can claim nothing at all
As my own.

For all things are yours, Lord,
And nothing is mine –
I’ll take nothing with me:
In death, all is Thine.

Everything we have has come from you (1 Chronicles 29:14; NLT).


References 

He is ever merciful, and lends (Psalm 37:26; NKJV). 

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return there. The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away. May the name of the LORD be blessed! (Job 1:21; NET).


Reading: Luke 12:16-20; NLT.

A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ 

Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, ‘My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!’

But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’

10.1.23: Heaven

As soon as I started to pray last Monday, fresh prayers began to arrive. It was all I could do to keep up with them, and at one point, to my horror, I thought I had accidentally erased a whole piece. Fortunately, I managed to find it in the end. Here is one of the prayers I received that day:

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

Heaven
Is being one with God –
From genesis
Before our birth,
Through trials and sorrows
Here on earth;
In loss and gain,
In joy and pain –
Forever one
In love.

Heaven
Is being one with God –
Let’s offer thanks,
Rejoice and pray,
And follow Jesus
Every day.
Let’s seek his face,
And share his grace –
Forever one
In God.

Heaven
Is being one with God –
Let’s praise his name
With every breath,
And walk with him
In life and death.
Then, safe ashore,
We will adore –
Forever one
With God.

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16; NLT).

8.1.23: I saw your sun

Yesterday, as I surfaced from sleep, I began to pray. My eyes were still closed, but I was looking across a wide, dark plain towards distant mountains, just as dawn was approaching.

As I watched, the sun began to rise behind the peaks. Soon it was fully visible, shining gloriously in the morning sky. Then today’s prayer came into my mind, though it proved difficult to express:

The glory of the LORD rises to shine on you (Isaiah 60:1; NLT). 

The LORD God is our sun and our shield (Psalm 84:11; NLT).

I saw your sun
Rise in my mind,
As I worshipped
And prayed,

Till, over the mountains,
It shone in my heart,
Where it stayed.

Lord,
Sun of Righteousness,
Reign in my soul
All my days;

Then I will share
In your glory:
At one; unafraid.

The dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NLT). 

For you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture (Malachi 4:2; NLT).


References 

Since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering (Romans 8:17; NLT).

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 (Isaiah 60:20; NLT).

Now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:14; NLT).

Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his presence. Worship the LORD in all his holy splendor (1 Chronicles 16:29; NLT).

Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory (Romans 5:2; NLT).

As we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world (1 John 4:17; NLT).

13.12.22: Suffering #3

Sunrise over the sea, taken from my front door yesterday morning

Context: On Sunday evening I was reading about the Annunciation, and reflecting on how Mary freely chose to bear God’s Son. Then today’s question and answer dialogue came straight into my mind, all at once:

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38; KJV). 

I want your will to be done, not mine (Matthew 26:39; NLT).

Will you accept this illness?
Yes, I will, Lord.
Do you accept this pain?
Yes, Lord, I do.

Can you accept this trouble?
Yes, I can, Lord,
And I’ll embrace my cross with joy
For you.

Will you accept this burden?
Yes, Lord, freely.
Do you accept this grief?
Yes, Lord, I do.

 Can you accept this anguish?
Yes, Lord, gladly,
So I’ll give thanks, and bear my cross
For you.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18; NIV).


References 

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 glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church (Colossians 1:24; NLT). 

If we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering (Romans 8:17; NLT). 

Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies (2 Corinthians 4:10; NLT). 

Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34; NLT).


Rosary-making news: The Rosary Hospital (with thanks to J.W.)

On Sunday I finally hit on the best way for me to make Fiat Rosaries successfully. These rosaries help the user to explore all four mysteries in one cycle of prayer. The story of how they began is available here: https://associationfiat.com, in several different languages.

The same evening, a friend offered to send me some broken rosaries, to my great delight. I’ve already received a box of similar materials from a shop in Walsingham, and am recycling their usable parts to make corded rosaries.

My husband commented dryly that I’m now running a “Rosary Hospital”, which felt instantly significant. As I don’t charge for what I make, recycling rosary parts helps to keep my costs down. If recipients want to, they can donate to the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Making rosaries is a spiritual exercise, and a form of ministry which brings me great pleasure and purpose, though I still have much to learn. If the Rosary Hospital idea develops further, I’ll post about it here.

Meanwhile, here is yesterday’s non-Fiat rosary (making one each day is enough for my arthritic hands). It’s extra large, chunky and tactile, made especially for an elderly lady:

12.12.22: Suffering #2 (for B.B.)

Context: Today’s prayer continues my exploration of how God can use our willingly-embraced and gladly-offered suffering to help others. This thread started just a few days ago. Here is a link, in case you want to read that blog first: https://wp.me/p45bCr-cZE. I’m now numbering these linked prayers about suffering, as there is at least one more to come.

I am nothing but dust (Genesis 18:27; NIV).

I’m nothing but dust, Lord,
I’m nothing but sin;
I’m nothing but grief,
And I’m nothing, within.

Yet, Jesus, like you,
I am ready to sup:
To share in your anguish,
And drink from your cup.

So I offer my suffering,
Sickness, and pain:
May your will be done, Lord,
Again and again.

I offer my life,
And I offer my death:
May I share your sorrows,
Then enter your 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 (Matthew 11:29; NLT).

God’s rest is there for people to enter (Hebrews 4:6; NLT).


References 

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

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 26:39; NLT). 

Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptised with my baptism of suffering” (Mark 10:39; NLT).

O LORD, I give my life to you (Psalm 25:1; NLT). 

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

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 glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church (Colossians 1:24; NLT). 

Since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering (Romans 8:17; NLT). 

Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies (2 Corinthians 4:10; NLT). 

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18; NIV).


Rosary-making news:

On Saturday I made a requested five-decade rosary for my priest, which for some reason proved very difficult, though I managed in the end. Today I’ve made one and a half rosaries, and am starting to feel more confident about my method, as it slowly evolves:

8.12.22: Suffering #1

Context: Today’s prayer came to me a couple of days ago. It’s about how God can use our willingly-offered suffering to help others. This is a mystery I don’t really understand at all, and which I would very much like to know more about:

Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies (2 Corinthians 4:10; NLT). 

Lord God,

If my suffering, sorrow
And hurt,

Which I willingly accept
And embrace,

Are of any value
To you,

Please use them
To help others,

Even though I don’t know
How you do this.

And, Lord,
Please enable me

To understand and share
Your purpose.

We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28; NLT).


References 

Suffering:
Since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering (Romans 8:17; NLT).

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18; NIV).

Sorrow:
He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:37; NIV).

Hurt:
I have thought deeply about all that goes on here under the sun, where people have the power to hurt each other (Ecclesiastes 8:9; NLT).

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:33-4; NIV). 

Acceptance:
Should we accept only good things from the hand of God, and never anything bad? (Job 2:10; NLT).

Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies (Lamentations 3:30; NLT).


Rosary-making news:

To my great delight, yesterday I received a box of broken rosaries, chaplets and bracelets by post. I had a very enjoyable afternoon taking them to pieces, and sorting out all the parts I can re-use. Then I made my first rosary for several days. It was a bit of a struggle joining it all up, and I had to start again, but here is a photo of the final result, made for a friend in my spiritual discernment group:

5.12.22: In everyone

Context: I’m still very weary after having covid, and am hardly writing at all. So I’m glad to be able to dip into my store-house, and share this prayer with you. It came to me last September:

There is one Lord …who is over all and in all and living through all (Ephesians 4:5-6; NLT). 

Lord,

You’re in everyone and everything –
All I see, hear, taste, smell and touch.

You give all I receive,
And you take away everything I lose.

You share all my sensations,
Including pain, fatigue and suffering.

You share all my emotions,
Including joy, fear and sorrow.

Please help me to learn from all I experience,
Both “good” and “bad”.

I dedicate myself to you, and to your service,
Just as I am.

May I take up my cross each day,
And follow your example.

May everything I think, say and do
Express your love.

I ask all this in your holy name.
✝️ Amen.

I will do whatever you ask in my name (John 14:13; NIV).

2.12.22: Forgive me

Context: I chose this prayer from my storehouse whilst waiting for treatment at the hospital. Because of having had Covid, I’ve missed several weekly sessions there,  so it was good to start picking up my old routines again, and to see the familiar reception staff and nurses. Unfortunately, I somehow accidentally pressed the “publish” button, so it has gone out early, as a bonus for today!

Do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour…

Lord,
You know my faithless heart:
Forgive me; make me fair and kind.
You also know my foolish thoughts:
Forgive me; let me share your mind.

Lord,
You know my careless words:
Forgive me; may I speak with love.
You also know my fragile soul:
Forgive me; heal me; make me good.

Lord,
You know my selfish deeds:
Forgive me; may I serve like you.
You also know my wasted years:
Forgive my sins, and make me new.

…Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:30-32; NLT).


References

For the honour of your name, O Lord, forgive my many, many sins (Psalm 25:11; NLT).

Put new life into us, and we will worship you (Psalm 80:18; CEV).


Rosary-making news:

Again, no post for me today, as I wait keenly for all my rosary-making materials to arrive so I can get properly launched. Every day I say, “Thank you, Jesus”, when I see the empty letter-box, and strive to practice patience, which is very hard! It will arrive at the correct time, I’m sure, so I need to accept this situation, just any other.

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). 

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).