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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Trials are the Food of Faith

(journaled April 15, 2016)

"Trials are the food of faith. O let us leave ourselves in the hands of our Heavenly Father! It is the joy of His heart to do good to all His children.
There is [also] the reading of the Scriptures, that we may by them acquaint ourselves with God as He has revealed Himself in His Word.
Now the nearer we come to this in our inmost souls, the more ready we are to leave ourselves in His hands, satisfied with all His dealings with us." --George Mueller

I find myself more and more willing (though I have very far to go) to "leave myself in God's hands"--to the point that in my prayers I don't want to specifically ask Him anything but "Your will be done." Even when I pray for others, it comes down to "Your will be done." I'm even getting to that point when it comes to the potential of getting dementia. Thank You, Lord, for increasing my faith (And thank You for the troubles that have got me here).

But on the other hand, for some little things I kind of panic and ask something specific, something I think would be the best way for things to go. But even so, I don't often panic the way I used to. Because when it comes down to it, I've become quite convinced--and comfortable and accepting--that God does love us and does know what He's doing, no matter how it looks to us.

I am more concerned about people who don't know Him well enough to feel that way themselves, because I've been there, and I know how doubts, and even anger, can build and come between a person and God.

But on the other hand, maybe that's good because it pushes away false expectations and does open the possibility of seeing God as He is rather than what we have pictured or wished Him to be. The new picture is far more complex and mysterious and hard to grasp, but oh, I have far more rest (faith) in Him now. Thank You, Lord.

Thursday, 24 November 2016


(journaled April 12, 2016)

"Extraordinary afflictions are ... sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces .... for the polishing of His jewels; and those He especially loves and means to make the most resplendent, He hath oftenest His tools upon." --Archbishop Leighton

I agree with the first half--up to "jewels"--but is it true God loves some more than others, and wants to make some more "resplendent" than others? I don't think so. I think He loves all his children, and indeed loves and longs and grieves for those who do not accept him as their Father. And I think he wants to make all his children resplendent, each in his or her own unique way as he has lovingly created them and guided them, to be a part of his body. Even, as the scripture says, we are to give extra honour to those parts that are hidden from sight. Every part has a vital role to play to keep the whole body united and healthy, and in God's plan and sight, all God's children are thus to be equally resplendent. If there is a dimming of resplendency, it is our own choice, not God's. And we are called to equally honour both those who are resplendent in the perspective of earthly viewpoints and also those who seem "less" in earthly terms. Each one has an equal seat of honour in the sight of God--and an equal portion of humility too: the least shall be greatest and the greatest shall be least.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Perfect Passivity

(journaled April 7, 2016)

"There is a perfect passivity which is ... a living stillness born of trust. Quiet tension is not trust. It is simply compressed anxiety." (Streams in the Desert, April 7)

I have experienced both. Sometimes it is hard for me to tell which state I am in. I think, though, that over the past few years since my "great depression" You've been moving me out of the "compressed anxiety" which I forced upon myself to preserve myself, into the "living stillness" which is only from resting in You. A stillness which I cannot "psyche myself" into but which comes only from You as I finally start to "lay my burdens down" and "rest in You" and trust You. Bit by bit, moment by moment: it surely hasn't been an instantaneous experience for me. And I doubt it is really for anyone. I worry about stories where people say they "laid it all at the foot of the cross" and their burdens rolled away and everything has been lovely ever since. Maybe that happens for a few people, but is that really how we get to the depths--by one glorious momentary experience? I am pretty sure it's a journey....

Even after death, and resurrection to our new eternal life with God, will we know it all instantly, know Him totally in a moment, or will we be growing in Him for all eternity? God is so great, and we are only creatures. I think there'll still be so much growing into knowing Him to do. Forever. Well, that's what it seems like to me, anyway. Lord?

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Comfortable Words

(journaled April 7, 2016)

"Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all that truly turn to him."

I have to admit I love the old-fashioned words and expressions in the old Anglican Common Prayer book. "Comfortable!" It does mean "comforting" but it's more than that--it has the sense of being with a beloved family member you are totally comfortable with and totally trust. And it even has a shade of meaning similar to how I feel about the cozy old blue chair ("my" chair!) that I'm curled up in right now, where I feel safe and warm, and have spent many happy hours reading and writing and visiting.

Anyway, some of Jesus' comfortable words: (and they truly are!):

"Come unto me all that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you." Matthew 11:25

"So God loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

And Paul's words:
"This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." I Tim 1:15 (My grandpa's favourite verse)

And John's words:
"If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins." 1 John 2:1

Comfortable words indeed!

Monday, 24 October 2016

Disappointed Prayer

(journaled April 6, 2016)

"There is no waiting on God for help, and there is no help from God, without watchful expectation on our part." -- C.H. Spurgeon

I know I don't "expect" enough: a lot of the time I don't really expect anything at all, do I?

So many prayers "unanswered" it seems--especially prayers for and by my children. It is not so hard for me to accept "later" or "no" or "different" (which I know from experience means "better") for my own prayers and needs ... but oh, Lord ... It has been hard to see my children disappointed in their prayers and trust in You.

And in their trust in me--so much so that I stopped, as much as possible, "making promises," knowing how little control I have over life's circumstances, not to mention my own weaknesses and forgetfulness and all. But I guess I assumed that when little children come to You, in faith, You would always take care of them, and answer "yes," simply and clearly and lovingly and all. "God answers prayers made in child-like faith." But I'm coming to realize that You don't always answer "yes" even to little children ... because You do love them, and You know what is best--just like I, as a mother, don't always answer "yes," because I know some things are not good for them.

And yes, I am glad that I can say, "Your will be done," because I've learned that my will is usually off track to some degree, no matter how "right" my thoughts seem to me. Though there are some people who say that praying "Your will be done" is a cop-out because I should be "storming heaven's gates" and "claiming God's promises to deliver on prayer requests" and such. But I do want Your will!

Lord, please overcome my children's disappointments (and yes, mine too), and help them learn to trust in You again. Help them to understand that You do know best. Please help them. And me.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Confession and Absolution

(Journaled April 6, 2016)

I think "confession" is something that way too many churches skip over during their gatherings. I think it is really helpful to include prayers of general confession (especially during communion services, but even generally), so people understand the necessity of repentance, and have an example or pattern of how to confess individually. And it does serve as an extra warning, too. It also reminds us of the awesomeness of God's forgiveness and mercy, when we contemplate the truth of our wickedness. I wonder if it gets skipped because it takes too much time, or is considered too "liturgical" or too "ritualistic" ... or perhaps there is a concern that such a confession is too "in your face" and might offend some people. If Communion is really so serious as scripture shows it to be, I think prayers of confession are really helpful, as in this prayer from a past edition of an Anglican prayer book:

"We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we from time to time most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, Forgive us all that is past; and grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

And then there is "absolution." Now maybe some people might think this is too "liturgical," but I think it is very comforting and assuring, especially for those who fear that they are too unworthy of God's forgiveness and love and acceptance.

"Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who of his great mercy hath promised forgiveness of sins to all them that with hearty repentance and true faith turn unto him; Have mercy upon you; pardon and deliver you from all your sins; confirm and strengthen you in all goodness; and bring you to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Monday, 17 October 2016

Launch into the Deep

(journaled April 5, 2016)

Every day for the last few weeks I have been praying the "Launch out into the deep" prayer from Streams in the Desert for Feb 29.  And it is building a longing to dive, launch, access the "deep waters" of the Holy Spirit, the deep things of God, the deep of God's Word, of Jesus and His Atonement, of Father's will, of the Holy Spirit, of God's purposes and coming kingdom, of joy with Jesus and his glory.

"Into all these things, Jesus bids us launch. He made us and He made the deep, and to its fathomless depths He has fitted our longing and capabilities."

Yes, dear God, I do "this day claim afresh to be immersed and drenched in these waters of life." Please take me, meet me, fill me, overflow me. Please efface my self, till my eyes are turned and fixed only on my Lord and Savior God--Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit. Please. Amen. Thank You.

Please help me fully give up the shore.

Please clearly show me my own weakness and my need for You completely (and please help me overcome my fear of mankind's disapproval, and my fear of losing my control, and my fear of the pain through which I may well have to pass on this journey with You).

Please help me apprehend the possibilities of my life lived in the deeps with You: please give me your heavenly vision

Please show me what my needs really are. I can be--I am--so blind to my own weaknesses and shortcomings. Please show them to me--and give me Your vision of how all of them, each of them, can be, will be met in Your deeps.

Please, Holy Spirit, open up Your Word to its "crystal fathomless ... ocean meaning."

Please, Holy Spirit, illuminate "Christ's precious blood [so] it becomes an omnipotent balm, and food and medicine for the soul and body."

Please, Father, take me into the depths of Your will, until I "apprehend its infinite minuteness and goodness, and its far-sweeping provision and care for us."

Please take me "into the deep of the Holy Spirit, until be becomes a ... fathomless summer sea, in which ... we lose ourselves and our sorrows in the calmness and peace of his everlasting presence."

Please take me "into the deep of the Holy Spirit, until He becomes a bright, marvelous answer to prayer, the most careful and tender guidance, the most thoughtful anticipation of our need, the most accurate and supernatural shaping of our events."

Please take me "into the deep of God's purposes and coming kingdom, until the Lord's coming and His millennial reign are opened up to us," until my heart is overwhelmed "with inexpressible anticipation of its joy with Jesus and the glory to be revealed."

Oh dear God, dear Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit--into all these things You bid me launch--and today, now, this moment, I am climbing into Your boat and looking forward, asking You to cast off and take me with You into the deeps--no matter what it costs in worldly terms. Please calm my fears and help me place all my trust in You. In Jesus' name, Amen. Thank You, Lord.