Thursday, 3 August 2017

Busyness, Self-Reckoning, and the Bigger Questions of Life

(originally journaled July 19, 2017)

I'm having a hard time getting back into the "intellectual mode" since most of our company has returned to their homes. I guess I was just getting used to relaxing my brain--and my body at bit, too, though I did lots of cooking, housework, childcare, etc. while everyone was here.

I have this weird "feeling" hanging around the edges of my brain that I need to make some changes in direction (spiritually/in everything) but I can't seem to get a hold on what that should be. I did read an article about listing everything you do--and then adding the words "with God" to each item. I kind of feel like that might be where to start.

I haven't done Bible reading/prayer/devotions for at least 3 weeks, maybe more. I just got so "bogged down," so feeling "obliged ... dutiful" although maybe that was partly because I was feeling the same about writing, tutoring, etc. My brain was so tired--and resentful a bit, too. I just read a study that suggests that after age 40, people should start slowing down, working less hours a week, because after that age, as the brain starts to slow down, stress from trying to keep up with "full-time" can really affect productivity--so it's better to work less and be productive and unstressed during "part-time work." Sounds good to me, LOL!

Hmmmm...

And then today (Aug 3) I read the following quote:

“Kierkegaard, in Either/Or, makes fun of the “busy man” for whom busyness is a way of avoiding an honest self-reckoning. You might wake up in the night and realize that you’re lonely in your marriage, or that you need to think about what your carbon footprint is doing to the planet, but the next day you have a million little things to do, and the day after that you have another million things. As long as there’s no end of little things, you never have to stop and confront the bigger questions.” -Jonathan Franzen, Best American Essays

Hmmm... am I too busy? Work? Hobbies? Chores? Just rushing around? So many little things... Is it time to "stop and confront the bigger questions"? How do I, as a busy person (who admittedly has enjoyed the busy life, even if I'm feeling kind of tired of it just now), do that? I want to switch gears...but how?

Monday, 31 July 2017

Devotions or Not or Just Different or?

(originally journaled June 29, 2017)

Since the beginning of January this year I have pretty faithfully been doing "devotions" every day, reading 6 chapters of Scripture (one each from the Pentateuch, historical books, poetic books, prophets, gospels, and epistles), plus a long list of prayers, and even some coloring in the "Inspire...Creative Journaling" Bible I was given for Christmas.

I really loved this hour (plus) daily for a long time, but lately, I've been getting less enthusiastic. Wishing for a change, but feeling kind of guilty since I kind of committed myself to this for the year (or at least until I finished reading the Bible through, which still has a way to go, especially through all those prophets--some sections I'm well into a second go-through).

And I feel kind of committed to praying for a lot of people, yet at the same time, I sometimes wonder if this is really what God wants. At one time, I would have even said "expects" or "requires." But lately, I've been wondering (again) what is the "right way" to pray and spend time with God.

So many books I've read and sermons I've heard in the past about the "right way to pray" and "the right way to have devotions"--and yet none of them really agree. I've tried lots of different ways, and all of them (or at least most of them) seemed to "work" for a while ... but I don't seem to have the "discipline" or whatever it takes to stick with one method for the rest of my days, though apparently, some people do.

But then that "one thing for the rest of my days" isn't really my nature, is it? I tend to move on from one thing to another in terms of jobs and hobbies and interests, though I have overarching things I stick with, like loving to learn, teach, write
--and seek God! It's just that I like to explore new ways to do things, and different emphases, and I don't think that really is a problem (though I'd probably have a better pension coming up if I'd had more "stick-to-it-iveness" in my teaching career, LOL)!

I've been reading an e-book called "Flee, Be Silent, Pray" about the kind of meditative practices of the early church fathers and in monasteries--and which continue to the present in some Christian traditions. Reading it has made me really relax about my devotion worries--so much so, in fact, that I've "gone without" since I started reading the book 6 days ago. I feel "relieved"--if a bit "guilty." And I don't intend to do "catch-up"--and even plan to "take a break" at least for the next 2 or 3 weeks or so while I have a lot of company coming. So there.

Though I may start again after that, and/or change my "process" ... Lord, I need Your guidance here.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Reflections on Blessings, Cursing, Nature, Fairness, and You

(originally journaled June 19, 2017)

I'm wondering ... we've been finding our Okanagan Lake (and rivers) unusual flooding this year to be quite astonishing--but it really is nothing compared to other parts of the world where floods are so much more massive and destructive, and they take or harm so many more lives.

Is it bad to pray for these local flood needs (nb. And, a month later, wildfire threats, with a number of homes in our region destroyed and many people under evacuation) when in reality, compared to other places our problems are quite small? Especially if we fail to pray even more so for "unknown" people far away?

And how much DO You interfere with nature's course? This does raise that prickly (to me, anyway) question about "fairness." It's true--You do bless both the good and the bad with sufficient rain and sun to provide good crops. But it also seems that both good and bad are "unblessed" (cursed...) by too much or too little. So I suppose that's "fair" in a way, too, isn't it--even if we don't particularly like "unblessings."

This reminds me of wildfires in our region in 2003 when whole neighbourhoods (about 250 homes) on the edges of our largest city were burned to the ground, and yet here and there remained lone houses, seemingly untouched.

And I remember that a group of Christians had been praying for one family--whose house indeed escaped the flames. And the Christian group chalked it up to God answering their prayers because the family in question were Christians. Maybe so. But then what about other Christians who lose their homes? And what about how those pronouncements made those others--and those in the community listening to these proclamations--feel about how You supposedly were selectively caring for special people and--what? punishing? warning? (and even, if they were also Christians, ignoring?) others. What about that? What, indeed, about all the good who have suffered along with the bad (often suffered more than the bad) all through time, all over the world?

We so happily jump to conclusions about Your "blessing" when we're not the ones suffering at the moment. Does it make You sad? And are You even in the "fairness" business? So many wonderings...

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Dancing Time!

(originally journaled June 10, 2017)

I have been having so much fun the past few days with those Quora questions. At first, it was the research and upvotes that attracted me. But then I started to toss in humorous bits--trying to do it at least once every day--and while people are responding very positively to my "witty" answers (as someone described them), I am actually really enjoying the feeling that my inner child, the real me, is being loosed, freed at long last from strictures imposed by rules about "good writing" and "good behaviour and belief" -- and by that period of depression I've never quite been able to OR (startling thought!) allowed myself to escape.

Ah! See! It could be partly--even a big part--MY fault, not just the cages imposed by others. Something freeing about that, too. Admitting to my own fears and self-imposed imprisonings.

Dancing time!

(including the freedom to dance!)

Monday, 3 July 2017

Truth

(originally journaled May 24, 2017)

Dear God,

How can I know when it's Your voice and direction I'm "hearing"? I feel so tangled up in all the different perspectives and traditions and worldviews and dogmas (and "heresies") I've been taught through the years.

Am I really not to have "fun" and "humour" and "adventure?" If not, if I'm supposed to be "serious," then what about the "joy" You promise?

What about how I feel about Your Presence and Your direction when I read Your word and pray and ask for Your guidance--and then I get "whacked" by people who apparently think I'm way off from Your way? Yes, I feel like they are "weed-whacking" me, trying to destroy all the "weeds" they perceive in my thinking. If necessary, mowing me totally down to the ground.

And yet here I've thought You've been guiding me, and even hoping maybe I was hearing Your voice at least a little. Yet right now I'm feeling totally lost instead and maybe even that You have "cast me out," like I've "committed the unpardonable sin" or something.

Yes, I know I've failed You and denied You even, over and over. But You know my heart and You know my longing to truly do better, to love and follow and obey You.

So what's up?

Is this all a part of the process of changing me, remaking me, moulding me to Your will and way (rather than to the will and way of other people, no matter how well-meaning and sure of their rightness they may be). I don't mind You doing that, either--as long as it is truly You and not just some person's perception and interpretation of You.

Because there are so many different perceptions and interpretations of You, and I'm totally sure that not a single one of us (individual believers or groups/denominations of believers) have You all figured out. Only You are Truth, right?

Though You have decided to use us weak human beings to bring Your Truth to the world. But how can we, how can I do that, when I can't seem to find out what truth is, beyond its being You... You who are more than I could ever really know or comprehend!

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Talking to God about my life

(originally journaled May 20, 2017)

So Anne Lamott says (in Bird by Bird) that one's deepest beliefs must drive one's writing.

It occurs to me that I'm not even sure what my deepest beliefs are. And I read today that depression often causes people to "lose their faith." Looking back, I'm pretty sure that the time I went through deep depression a few years back was about the same time I "lost" my dreams, my sense of adventure, my sense of humour, my love of learning, my deep desire to write--and also became rather unsure of what I believed in (though I still believed in God's existence and Jesus as God incarnate ... and God as beyond our tiny imaginations and understanding).

I seem to manage to tutor quite well, and to organise writers' events and workshops and such quite well, and write useful (if boring) blog posts. BUT!

What I really want is to run along a cold, windy, salt-blowing, stormy north-west Pacific island beach, and spread my arms wide, and open my mouth wide and gulp in that cold, wild, salty air. Is that too much to ask?

And I want some time for myself occasionally, without responsibilities to clean and cook and wait on people. Is that too much to ask?

I want to be excited and joyful and have an adventure. [I wrote that in capital letters in my journal!] And I want to get to know You much more deeply, too. And find out what it is You want and who You are.

I would love to dance and twirl and laugh and shout. And have the energy for it, and not be embarrassed and not care what people think.

I want to break through this long, long, long, long, long, long feeling of depression and dullness. And loss.

I feel like I've lost myself.

I'm tired of researching and passing on information (and seeing other people do the things I want to do--things I've taught and encouraged them to do, but can't convince myself to do!)

I want to cry. To really, really cry. I want to be freed to be emotional.

I thought for a while that it was good to be calm and to give up my dreams. I thought it would please You, for me to give up "me" and just live day by day and never have another exciting moment as long as I lived if that's what You want for me. To be submissive to You, You know. (But I'm beginning to doubt that's what You really want, after all).

I'm tired of being nice little peacemaker, encourager, good tutor and decent editor and sometimes writer, kind of smart Norma.

I think maybe I'm longing to live a bit dangerously, take risks once in a while. Have fun! Take a flying leap! Before it's too late (You know--I'm 60-something already...)

And it would also be nice to have some clearer idea of what I believe.

And not care if people disagree with me or are shocked at me.

Are You shocked at me? I kind of doubt it, though, because I'm pretty sure You know way more clearly what's in my heart and mind than I do. And I'm pretty sure You love me anyway. In fact, I suspect that I, too, may well be one of Your "favourite people," like in The Shack :-)

Why did You make me so complicated? And let me get so mixed up? Does it really matter? I mean, as long as You love me?

I'm tired of being busy all the time, but feeling like I really am not accomplishing anything significant, important, worthwhile. And not earning enough to pay off those old bills that piled up last year when my arm was broken and I couldn't work much.

I want to blog and write for fun! I'm tired of being a boring old granny. I'm feeling tired and resentful and tied down...and I want to break free of that feeling.

Dear God?

(Thank you--for listening ... and answering)

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Balance in Christian viewpoints

Journal May 20, 2017

Oh dear. I read, and then shared on Facebook, what I thought was a good explanation of some of the political/Christian issues in American. And then one of my "friends" wrote a long, long response, using words like "diatribe" and "vitriol" to describe the piece I'd shared (but obviously not considering those words might fit his own piece, too). He obviously feels that "holiness" and "righteousness" is far more important than caring for those in need (as if they are not connected, even). But I guess that's his right, too, to express his feelings and understanding. I think he sees himself as a "prophet" like those in the Old Testament--and that's the job of such a prophet: to stand solidly and unapologetically and even fiercely for "righteousness."

He spoke of a balance of God's love in providing salvation, and of righteous, holy living as a result of salvation. He talks a lot about God's justice at the end of time, but he doesn't seem to have much interest in "justice" in the world we live in right now. Though scripture (including as quoted in that post I shared) is clear on that as being very important, too. Well, I remember from my childhood the fears of many evangelicals about "those liberal churches that focus on social justice"--as if social justice is simply a distraction of the enemy from what's really important for Christians, and is, therefore, to be avoided.

Lord, there's so much I don't understand.

(And I guess I do "deserve" that response for chuckling when I posted it, that I'd probably get some strongly worded responses. Little did I realise how strong the responses might be.)

Monday, 19 June 2017

Flying leaps and risk taking and radical living

(originally journaled May 17, 2017)

I was watching an episode of Star Trek in which Captain Picard was given the opportunity by Q to relive a crucial moment from his youth when he had been young and arrogant and had jumped into a fight which led to some life-changing directions. He decided the second time around to be mature and responsible--and then saw his life take a totally different path, in which instead of becoming a starship captain, he was never able to be more than a minor officer because he was always careful, never willing to jump at opportunities or take risks.

And it struck me that the reason I've been avoiding writing--and when I do write it's boring (useful, informative ... but boring)-- it's because I've lost my passion, lost my sense of adventure, lost my "life of the party/humorous" personality traits.

I figure I only have twenty or thirty years left, max, and I want to make the most of them.

Yes, I've sometimes resented the way I was brought up to be humble and obedient and submissive (and uncool!) ... "righteous." Yes, I want to follow Jesus. Yes, I want to be righteous, but the way He was. Daring, radical, living life to the full even as He obeyed His Father in all things.

There have been times when I've taken a "flying leap." But not for a long while. Why have I never really come out of my depression funk of 8 years or so ago? Why have I given up on my dreams--pretty near all of them, it seems? I've said that I'm putting God in charge, and living the "adventure" of "one day at a time" (which does involve some degree of adventure all right, when you don't know what the morrow will bring). But I wonder. Is that just an excuse? Maybe because I feel I have to stay "with contentment" in the situation life presents to me? Or because I'm afraid I might start to wander down a "wrong path?"

Where is my passion? Where is my sense of adventure? Why do I feel like I have to accept a blah life? And blah writing? When I try to write, or tutor, or lead workshops, or whatever, why do I dread it, avoid it, can't wait till it's over? I know I have talents. I can be happy and enthusiastic for other people and encourage them to take a leap. But I can't seem to be happy and enthusiastic and daring for myself.

I'm confused about "what a Christian should be like."

I'm feeling trapped. And scared. And angry and resentful, even. I want to run and jump up and down and scream and let all my boredom and fear pour out, and start taking risks. And laugh and have fun and write some wild and crazy, funny stuff.

Why not?

Am I "allowed" or not?

Oh dear God, please show me. I do want to please and obey You. Thank You. Amen!

(June 19 note: He's been allowing and leading! Keep posted!)

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Blurry Edges


(Journaled May 15, 2017)

Lord, I'm feeling ... I don't know ... less and less "attached" to this world--and maybe even to this body. I feel like my edges are getting a bit "blurry." Maybe it's just part of growing older?

But sometimes I worry in case maybe I'm also getting detached from you. And, oh Lord, I don't care about the other detachments, but I can't bear the thought of being detached from You (which, as You know, is why I have been so terrified about dementia).

Or, for that matter, I also can't bear the thought of my loved ones being detached from You.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Orthodoxy and Liturgy

(Journaled April 23, 2017)

Well, I finished reading the "Orthodox" book the other day...and had a long chat with an Orthodox friend.

Like the Anglican (and maybe even the Catholic) I seem to have a longing for liturgy...especially prayers...and a deeper connection to other believers (the church!) both locally, across the world, and through time. Reading about the Eastern Orthodox perspectives really did help me understand and/or gain deeper insight and appreciation on certain aspects of following Jesus.

Of course, there were a few things I find strange, like their veneration of Mary, and praying to her and the saints. I "get" that this tradition goes back to the "early Fathers" but I just don't see any evidence in scripture--though some of it based on other writings not found in the New Testament, I think.

I feel like (in many aspects of my life) maybe I am at some kind of crossroads, but I don't see clearly where it might be leading (or what I might be finishing up and leaving behind).

Lord--Your will be done.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

God's will


(originally journaled April 14, 2017 Good Friday)

Lord God--Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit--Your will be done in my life! Please!

I don't know where to go from here. I do feel You want me to direct my writing more toward You and Your way.

I read an article today by some guy who is convinced You never existed at all--not even as a person in history. I guess that's what he wants to believe--and I guess it's a comfort to others who don't want to believe in You at all.

The thing is, it seems like I am believing in You more and more. You are becoming more real to me, deep down in my heart, my being. You in me.

Yes, Your will be done in my life. Please.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Sacrifice

(Journaled April 5, 2017)

Wow. If you ever doubt the amazing value of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for sin--or don't realise the incredible extent of our sinfulness--just read Leviticus 4 to 7 (all the sections on sin offerings and the mega-rules in the following chapters). When I read those rules, I wonder how on earth people could possibly live up to all the rules of the law...and how they could afford sin offerings every time they sinned...even unintentionally! It would seem (and would be) impossible! What a load/burden to live under. No wonder so many gave up, or only picked and chose what rules to follow (something many people continue to do today) ... or even turned to other "gods." Which is the point ... only Christ's sacrifice can truly deal with our sin and only He can help us--for we are helpless ourselves!

On the other hand, it is also a stark reminder to us not to take God's sacrifice for granted ... and to press us onward to long to follow and obey and love the Lord more and more and more. And be more and more aware of our own sinfulness and weakness, and our need for utter dependence on Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit--our Lord and God.

By the way, Acts 5 and Hebrews 8 totally match up with this. Not a coincidence that today's readings lined up like this, I'm sure.

Thank You, Lord!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

visions and dreams

(originally journaled April 2, 2017)

I hear about so many Muslims in the Middle East coming to You, Jesus, because You visit them in visions and dreams.

I wish I'd receive a vision or dream sometimes... but I know they must be seeking You so much more than I ever have and must be so much more willing to suffer and die for You once they encounter You. And also, maybe You visit them so directly because the "gospel" Christians have taught, and especially have acted out/demonstrated/lived, has not reflected You, Jesus, at all.

I'm really, truly sorry, Lord. Please forgive us. Please forgive me.

I long for You, to see You and know You, dear Lord.

In Jesus' name, Amen.


Monday, 29 May 2017

Retreat

(Journaled April 2, 2017)

Lord, when I read about "Saint Mary of Egypt," I realised how very far away I still am from You ... and how great are my doubts and my unfaithfulness.

I do want to draw nigh to You.

Maybe there IS a reason I have longed for so many years for times of retreat. Alone. (With You. Even if I didn't know that was what I was longing for.)

Monasteries ... or a cabin on a wild, lonely beach ... or that tree house B&B my daughter found ... or in our little tent in a wilderness spot by a creek... just to be alone. With You. I now see.

I'm tired, Lord.

I feel like I've been pushing so hard to ... do something worthwhile. To leave a positive mark on the world. (Maybe to point someone to You. Have I ever, ever pointed someone to You? Enough for them to make a decision? I feel like I will one day bow at Your feet, my head hung down, because I have nothing, no one, to present to You before Your throne. I'm so sorry. I feel like such a failure.)

It seems like You have given me quite a lot of talents and definitely a lot of blessing ... but I have wasted them :-(

Is there anything for me to do now? Before it's too late?

I'm so tired. And discouraged. (Even though You've granted me a lot of "successes" lately...Thank You!...)

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Restore

(Journaled April 2, 2017)

Lord and Father God, dear Jesus, Holy Spirit...

You know my messed-up heart.

Please forgive me for all my wanderings and rebellions and fears and my love of the world's recognition.

Forgive me, please, for not worshipping You.

"Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation and restore a right spirit within me."

"Lord God, be merciful to me, a sinner."

Please forgive me and restore me ... Thank you.

Monday, 22 May 2017

liturgical church


(Journalled March 26, 2017)

I've been reading and talking to people about Eastern Orthodoxy lately.

I'm feeling a bit nervous about it, as it brings up so many memories of teachings I heard in my childhood about the "dangers" of churches that use "icons" and look back to "tradition" and "the church Fathers" and depend too much on intellectual (deep study) and so on and so forth (and rites and rituals and mysticism and the spiritual disciplines)--all those arguments I heard over and over against Roman Catholicism when I was young (I don't ever remember hearing anything about Eastern Orthodoxy one way or another, though).

But at the same time, I long for some ritual...and deep thinking...and the long history of the church...and community (that goes deeper that breakfast together and some discussion once a week on Sunday mornings). I love liturgy and written/group prayers that have long, deep roots and branches that pull together all believers through time and place.

There was a time when I thought "house church" was the answer...and I still think aspects of it are valuable...but oh, I miss group prayer and songs/praise and liturgy, and yes, even some "authority" as in spiritual leaders/ fathers/ parents who are examples and mentors.

But I'm wondering ... What about the "confession" part (Well, maybe we Protestants need more focus on that, anyway, eh)? And veneration of Mary.

(And in the Roman Catholic Church the whole purgatory thing? ... And great wrongs of the past like the Crusades and Inquisitions and wealth of religious Christian institutions ... and cover-ups of things like clergy paedophilia... and cozy relationships between state and church...and oppression of huge groups of people...and forcing of cultural customs in the name of the church with little or no recognition of "free will" or the value of other cultures and traditions...)

But maybe a lot of that stuff isn't Christianity anyway. Maybe it's institutionalised religion in cahoots with the state's power and financial and political machinery? How do we separate the two, though? How do we truly live in this world yet not be of this world and its kingdoms and power and religious structures...under the overarching power of the "prince of this world" ... or is he even the prince of this world anymore if he was conquered at the cross by the blood of Jesus? ....but it sure looks like he is plenty active (and without a doubt, alive)...but the again, how much of it is just US, weak, flawed humanity?

Oh, dear God, please show me Your way. And help me trust You...even with all my doubts and confusion (and yes, sometimes anger...and disbelief...)

Thursday, 18 May 2017

speaking evil of those we disagree with

(originally journaled March 26, 2017)

Every time I listen to or read the news ... or watch those forensic crime documentaries on TV with hubby ... I just sit there and wonder how, how, how on earth people can be so depraved and evil? How do people move from "little white lies" and "arguments" and stuff to really cold-blooded murder and extreme violence ... and religious extremism, too?

It bothers me just as much when I hear "good Christians" name-calling those who believe differently and/or want them tossed out of the country or whatever.  It bothers me just as much--maybe more--than hearing about criminals committing murder and all. Because--"good Christians" should know what the Bible (and Jesus!) teaches and should be led by the Holy Spirit ... yet it seems so much of the time that we're led (cheerfully, without any real thought about it) by our own beliefs, desires, whatever--and unfortunately, I might well add, by the enemy...because surely Jesus wouldn't approve of or set an example of those kinds of attitudes and speech and action.

Am I right about that? (Not to mention I know very well that I'm guilty of it, myself...)

Monday, 15 May 2017

Good--God--Moments

(originally journaled February 5, 2017

I was listening, in the middle of the night, to radio programming from Australian Broadcasting. They interviewed a family of dairy farmers who is sticking it out and loving it, while dairy farmers all around them have been losing money and giving up. But this family is determined to stick it out because they love farming and they love the land ... and they said they have hope because of their Christian faith--and they expressed that so clearly, confidently, happily.

But then there were other news reports about so many dark events in news worldwide ... and I found myself wondering (again) how the world can be such a dark, evil place .. but then thinking about daily life and all its little bright spots. True, there are a lot of people living in really bad situations like refugees in camps and people stuck in war zones, and persecutions from groups like ISIL. But even then, we hear of people in those situations who find small, happy moments in the midst of all of it.

I guess when we live in a relatively safe place like Canada, we fail to notice the small, good -- God! -- moments because there are so many of them that we tend to take them for granted. Good reason to read the Psalms again -- and the way they show faith and hope in dark circumstances. The battle goes on. I was wondering about why it goes on when Jesus has won the "war" -- but of course the enemy is bitter and has his own "hope" I suppose.

But in the end, as the dairy farmer lady said, we have hope because "all things work together for good..." in the end--and as she also said, "There is such liberation and hope in that!"

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Deeper with God

(originally journaled February 1, 2017)

As I've been praying about "launching out into the deep" over the past nearly a year (!), I've felt discouraged because I've kept expecting that at some point I'll have some kind of great emotional experience--and I haven't. I've felt gradually more confident that God loves me and has forgiven my wanderings, and because of that, I have a greater (but not overwhelming, because I still have moments of doubt and worry, and questioning) sense of peace.

But this morning I realised God is taking me deeper with Him ... but "deeper" isn't a fuzzy-wuzzy or yippy-yahoo kind of emotional experience. Just like in a human romantic relationship, the initial "thrill" mostly wears off, but as you keep at it "for better, for worse..." you come to know and love and be comfortable and attached more and more. So it is in relationship with Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit--God. There are joyful moments of "delight," even of "thrill," but the deep knowing, acceptance, assurance, love, caring, comfort is really worth so much more.

Thank You! Amen!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

prayers 11


(Over the past few days, I've been sharing some of my "daily prayers." Some parts are in my own words, some are quoted from other sources. I'll be leaving out personal names and details. Today, the final instalment, is #11)

"Be mindful, Lord, of thy people bowed before thee, and of those who are absent through age, sickness, or infirmity. Care for the infants, guide the young, support the aged, encourage the faint-hearted, collect the scattered, and bring the wandering to thy fold. Travel with the voyagers, defend the widows, shield the orphans, deliver the captives, heal the sick. Succour all who are in tribulation, necessity, or distress. Remember for good all those that love us, and those that hate us, and those that have desired us, unworthy as we are, to pray for them. And those whom we have forgotten, do thou oh Lord remember. For thou art the Helper of the helpless, the Saviour of the lost, the refuge of the wanderer, the Healer of the sick. Thou, who knowest each man’s need, and hast heard his prayer, grant unto each according to thy merciful loving-kindness and thy eternal love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."*

“Oh God, whose nature and property is ever to have mercy and to forgive; receive our humble petitions, and, though we be tied and bound with the chain of our sin, yet let the pitifulness of thy great mercy loose us, for the honour of Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Advocate. Amen.”*
“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. The Lord bless us and keep us, the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon us, and give us peace, now and forevermore. Lord have mercy upon us, Christ have mercy upon us, Lord have mercy upon us. O Lord, save thy servants that put their trust in thee. Amen.”*

Glory, glory, hallelujah, now I lay my burdens down. Please take them now, in Jesus’ name, Amen. Thank You for Your light and easy burdens, instead.  Thank you, Lord, for your Joy, Love, and Peace. Thank You most of all for YOU! Praise You, Lord! And thank You that You long for relationship and love with us, Your humble and weak (and undeserving—but still so loved by You) creation and servants. Please help us, help me, to respond to You with love and joy and trust and faith in You. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen. I love You, Lord. Thank You. Praise Your Holy Name. Amen. Joy!

* Quoted prayers are from the Book of Common Prayer Canada (Anglican--1950s edition)

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

prayers 10


(Over the past few days, I've been sharing some of my "daily prayers." Some parts are in my own words, some are quoted from other sources. I'll be leaving out personal names and details. Today is #10)

I pray for families of my tutoring students—for the students, parents, and siblings, for health issues and relationships, for jobs and education, for losses of family members, for disabilities and learning differences. I pray you will use me to point them to you, and that your Spirit will draw them. Thank You for new students you are providing.

I pray for people with depression and other mental health issues. Please wrap Your arms around us all and drive out the darkness with Your Light! I pray for all people and families affected by dementia. Oh dear God, please help them. Please, Lord, be especially close to all those who suffer in these ways, directly or indirectly. In Jesus’ name.

Thank you, Lord, that you are close to all those who are suffering; help them to learn to turn to and trust in and lean on you. Please use their circumstances to draw them to you. Make rainbows out of their storms. Thank you, Lord. Bless them, love them, care for them—I know you do! Your will and purposes be done.  Help me to accept your will in these things, and to trust your love and mercy. Thank you for suffering that draws us to you and matures us and makes us able to understand and have compassion and help others and lead them to You and Your love. Help us to understand the work you do in us through our suffering—and how our relationship with you grows stronger and how we see your love for us and others through it all. Amen and Amen.

Monday, 8 May 2017

prayers 9


(Over the past few days, I've been sharing some of my "daily prayers." Some parts are in my own words, some are quoted from other sources. I'll be leaving out personal names and details. Today is #9)

Lord, I pray for people in grief, those who are grieving lost loved ones. Please be with all the families and loved ones. 
I pray for all the families of young people (and older) gone to suicide. Oh dear God, break through people’s darkness with Your light, so they turn to you, the Light of the world, rather than to the death and darkness of the enemy. Forgive us for “assisted suicide laws” and abortion and "recreational drugs" as ways to avoid pain, and help us to love and assist each other instead, and help us pray for healing, and introduce people to You. 

I pray for those who have turned to alcohol and drugs and destroyed their own lives, and so damaged the lives of those who love them. I pray for the families and friends of those whose lives have been destroyed (and ended) by drug and alcohol overdoses or other drug-related accidents and health issues. 
I pray for people with illnesses and disabilities, physical, emotional, mental—and most of all, spiritual. I pray for broken relationships; for finances; for housing needs; for those wondering what to do next in their lives; for those in treatment; for those who are in long-term care; for all those who are lonely; for overwhelmed caretakers; and for all other needs. Please bring healing and comfort--and help me to also care for and comfort and pray for them. 

Friday, 5 May 2017

prayers 8


(Over the past few days, I've been sharing some of my "daily prayers." Some parts are in my own words, some are quoted from other sources. I'll be leaving out personal names and details. Today is #8)

I pray for my fellow Christian writers, that you will show us how You want us to draw closer to You and to share You through the written word. 
I pray also for the members of my other local writing groups and other writers I have connected with, for all their needs--physical, spiritual, relationships, life directions, mental health, pains and sorrows, and more. I pray that you will use me to reach out to my fellow writers with your love and point them to you. Amen.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

prayers 7


(During the next week or so, I'll be sharing some of my "daily prayers." Some parts are in my own words, some are quoted from other sources. I'll be leaving out personal names and details. Today is #7)

I pray for our leaders. I pray for the mayor and the council of our town and the leaders of other towns. I pray for the government of our province and the leaders of other provinces. I pray for our MP and our MLA and for the government of Canada, the Prime Minister, and for the nation of Canada and its people. I pray for the nation of America and its leaders and people, and for all the nations of the world that Your will be done. 

I pray for the leaders of all the First Nations. I pray for all First Nations people who are seeking after You, their Creator and God. Please help them find the real You, dear Jesus, Father, Holy Spirit. Help me to reflect the true Jesus. You know all their hearts, Jesus, and especially those who have been so damaged in your name. You judge justly. Please help the rest of us to truly face the truth of what we have done, and reach out in sorrow and reconciliation. How can I help, Lord? This is so heavy on my heart. Your will be done, Lord. Please guide me.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

prayers 6


(During the next week or so, I'll be sharing some of my "daily prayers." Some parts are in my own words, some are quoted from other sources. I'll be leaving out personal names and details. Today is #6)

I pray that Christians will seek after and follow You and Your path in the troubles the world is facing now, and trust in You to work all things out according to Your plans and purposes. I pray for peace on earth and good will among men—led by Your Spirit. 

I pray for those affected negatively by climate change, and by natural disasters—and I pray that you will lead your people to be good stewards of the earth and take care of its environment, and take care of those who are suffering because of our greed and lack of caring.

Lord, I pray for those whom I have wrongly seen as “enemies”—people who annoy me, frustrate me because I don’t understand their ways which they believe are the way to follow you. I am sure that they are equally frustrated and annoyed by my ways, which I have thought are the way to follow you. Please forgive me for my wrong thoughts, and help me to see clearly through Your eyes. Please grant me Your wisdom. 

Lord, it has been easier for me to love those who don’t claim to follow You than to love those who do claim to follow you but I can’t understand their thoughts and ways. Help me to love everyone as You love. Thank You that You see our hearts and You judge rightly and righteously. Help us all to listen to You, and seek Your guidance and wisdom, and help us to love each other with Your love and mercy and grace. And help me, help us, to leave the judging of hearts to You, who alone truly knows what is in a person’s heart. Thank You! Amen. So be it, Lord!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

prayers 5



(During the next weeks or so, I'll be sharing some of my "daily prayers." Some parts are in my own words, some are quoted from other sources. I'll be leaving out personal names and details. Today is #5)

I pray for churches: I pray for your church worldwide. I pray for unity and love and that your good news will be shared and taught and spread. I pray for your church here in my community—for all the churches that follow you. I pray for the "churches" that have beliefs that do not truly honour Jesus as Lord and Savior. 

I pray for believers who have become cynical and turned to other beliefs or to atheism or agnosticism because of their wrong understanding of You, because of the sad behaviours of Christians, or because of their own rebellion against you. Please draw people away from Satan’s falsehoods. Please! I pray for myself, too, that any moment I start following a false path, even just a little, that you will clearly, deeply reveal it to me, and help me turn right away to follow you alone, Jesus, Father, Holy Spirit. Help me look only and always unto Jesus, the one Way, Truth and Life, and the author and finisher of my faith!

I pray, Lord God, that you will guide all of us into your truth and love, in our words, actions, thoughts, and attitudes. Please draw us and unite our spirits with Your Spirit. Be our guide, and help us, help me, trust in and follow Jesus alone. Help us grow deep into You.

Lord God, I pray for all people who are following “spirituality” or “religion” or “dogma.” Help them to turn to and come to know the real You, Jesus, Father, Holy Spirit. I pray for those of all religions (including Christianity) or those who spurn religion, to really find You, dear God. I pray that you reveal Yourself clearly to them, Jesus, and reveal Yourself to the rest of us, all of us, too, whatever path we are following. Help us all to leave false paths and turn, convert, repent. Help us to come to God through Your shed blood and believing in You, the one Way, Truth and Life, dear Jesus. I pray that You will reveal yourself and draw all hearts to You, for you are not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Draw us unto You, dear Jesus, please!

I pray for "ministries" that reach out to the poor, and for all the helpers and guests. I pray for all people who help the poor because they love you. I pray for the poor. I pray also for other kinds of ministries and for all your children who follow you and serve you in whatever way you lead them. Help us to support each other and not criticise those who serve you in ways different from the ways we serve. 

Monday, 1 May 2017

prayers 4




(During the next week or so, I'll be sharing some of my "daily prayers." Some parts are in my own words, some are quoted from other sources. I'll be leaving out personal names and details. Today is #4)

I pray for my children and their families. I pray for each family in turn, and I call them by name.

I pray for physical healing and other health needs, for finances, for jobs and businesses, for schooling and education, for their minds and hearts, for mental and spiritual and emotional needs. I pray for their extended families on their spouses' sides. I pray for future children and spouses, too.

I pray that all my children and their families will come to know you and love and follow you with all their hearts. I pray that all of them will grow and blossom in their relationship with you, their Creator. Please bless them all, and draw them every closer to you, and don't let anything drag them away from you.

I pray for my children's relationships and for peace in their families. I pray that you will comfort and encourage and protect them.

Dear God, please guide us, their parents and grandparents, in regards to our children's and grandchildren's needs, and how we can help them.

I pray for all our extended family members on my husband's side and on my side. Thank you for drawing members of our relations to you; please continue to draw them. Please bring them all to you, that they will turn to you, in Jesus' name, amen. Thank you, Lord. I pray also for our special friends who are like family. I pray that you will direct all our loved ones into your plans for them.

Please draw as many people as possible to Yourself, all over the world. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

prayers 3

(During the next couple weeks or so, I'll be sharing some of my "daily prayers." Some parts are in my own words, some are quoted from other sources. I'll be leaving out personal names and details. Today is #3).

"Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen."*


Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit—dear God, Creator, Lord of lords, Saviour, Rock of Ages, Bread of Life, Light of the World, Sovereign King:

I pray for my family. I pray for all their needs, and most of all I pray that each one of us will come to know and follow and love and obey and trust you deeply and forever.

I thank you for taking care of our financial needs in ways I would never have expected or planned or chosen myself. You ARE in charge! Thank you that you know best. Please continue to take care of our financial needs ... but Your will be done. Please provide in your way, will and time. I continue to give our needs to you today, and ask you to take care of them—and take my hands and heart off them. You know how much I am physically able to work; please take care of that, too. Thank You. Amen!

I pray for my husband and his needs and for his relationship with you. Lord, please bring us to walk closer together with you. Show us how our physical conditions and our ageing can be used for Your glory. Please. Thank You.

Lord, I pray for your plans and purposes in my own life. Help me follow you, obey you, love you. Please guide me in my business, too. Help me to make right decisions. Show me how to focus every part of my life on knowing, obeying, loving, trusting and serving You. Thank You. Please be with me, and may all I say and do honor and point to you. Thank You for your help and guidance, and your amazing surprises and adventures!

* Matthew 6, The Bible, KJV

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

prayers 2

(During the next couple weeks or so I'll be sharing some of my "daily prayers." Some parts are my own words, others are quoted from other sources. I'll be leaving out personal names and details. Today is #2).

"Help me launch into Your will, Father God, until I apprehend it in its infinite minuteness and goodness, and its far-sweeping provision and care for me."* You love me! You know best! Thank You, Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit—dear God.

"Help me launch deep into You, Holy Spirit, until You become a bright, dazzling, sweet, fathomless summer sea, in which I bathe and bask and breathe, and lose myself and my sorrows in the calmness and peace of Your everlasting presence."* Help me to “practice Your Presence” and be aware of You always. Help me dedicate quality time to be alone with You, dear God.

"Help me launch deep into You, Holy Spirit, until You become a bright, marvelous answer to prayer, the most careful and tender guidance, the most thoughtful anticipation of my needs, the most accurate and supernatural shaping of my events."

"Help me launch into the deep of Your purposes and coming kingdom, dear Lord God, until Jesus’ coming and His millennial reign are opened up to us; and beyond these the bright, entrancing ages on ages unfold themselves, until my mental eye is dazed with light, and my heart flutters with inexpressible anticipations of its joy with You, Jesus, and the glory to be revealed."* Please show me, help me anticipate. And launch. Seeing world events, I am anticipating the coming eternal kingdom of Father God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, and am thankful for its presence already, You within us. Help me to launch deep into it, into You, right now. Thank You!

“What a day that will be when my Jesus I will see, When I look upon His face, the One who saved me by His grace. When He takes me by the hand and leads me to the promised land, what a day, glorious day that will be! There’ll be no sorrow there, no more burdens to bear, no more sickness, no pain, no more crying over there. And forever I will be with the One who died for me; What a day, glorious day, that will be!"**

"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 longings and capabilities."*
"The deep waters of the Holy Spirit are always accessible. Will I not this day claim afresh to be immersed and drenched in these waters of life?"* Yes, I will. I do! Lord, please immerse and drench me right now into Your waters of life. Thank You. "How far have I advanced into this river of life? The Holy Spirit would have a complete self-effacement. Not merely ankle-deep, knee-deep, loin-deep, but self-deep. I myself must be hidden out of sight and bathed in this life-giving stream. Help me let go the shore-lines and launch out into the deep."* Thank You. Amen!

*Springs in the Desert, Feb. 29 (Cowman)
** hymn "What A Day That Will Be" by Jim Hill

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

prayers 1


(Over the next couple weeks or so I'll be sharing some of my "daily prayers." Some parts are my own words, others are quoted from other sources. I'll be leaving out personal names and details.)

"Launch out into the deep (Luke 5:4). How deep He does not say. The depth into which we launch will depend upon how perfectly we have given up the shore, and the greatness of our need, and the apprehension of our possibilities. The fish were to be found in the deep, not in the shallow water."

"So with us; our needs are to be met in the deep things of God. We are to launch out into the deep of God’s Word, which the Spirit can open up to us in such crystal fathomless meaning that the same words we have accepted in times past will have an ocean meaning in them, which renders their first meaning to us very shallow."*

Thank You for Your scriptures. Please open my heart to Your Truth by the guidance of Your Holy Spirit, and the direction of Jesus who is the Word and the Truth incarnate. Amen.

"Help me launch into the deep of the Atonement, until Christ’s precious blood is so illuminated by the Spirit that it becomes an omnipotent balm, and food and medicine for the soul and body."* Thank You for Your shed blood. Help me to appreciate it and turn to it. 

“Will I stand in God’s house by night? Will I love Him in His own night? Will I watch with Him even one hour in His Gethsemane? Will I help to bear His cross…? Will I stand beside Him in His dying moments with Mary and the beloved disciple? Will I be able with Nicodemus to take up the dead Christ? Then is my worship complete and my blessing glorious. My love has come to Him in His humiliation. My faith has found Him in His lowliness. My heart has recognized His majesty through His mean disguise, and I know at last that I desire not the gift but the Giver. When I can stand in His house by night I have accepted Him for Himself alone.”** 

But the gift is also amazing and wonderful! “On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame, And I love that old cross, where the Dearest and Best, for a world of lost sinners was slain. So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, till my trophies at last I lay down; I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown.”*** 

And:  “Mercy there was great and grace was free, Pardon there was multiplied to me, There my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.”****


* Streams In the Desert, Feb. 29 (Cowman)
** Streams In the Desert, Dec. 11 (Cowman)
*** hymn by George Bennard
**** hymn by William Reed Newall

Monday, 24 April 2017

Religion and hating and You

(originally journaled December 13, 2016)

Dear God,

Why do people hate each other so much? Why is religion such a "hating" issue?

Are You the same God of Jews, Christians, and Muslims? Or even of different sub-groups within one or another of these religions? Or a different God altogether?

Or are You so much more, and so different, than we humans can begin to imagine?

And yes, what about all those apparently hateful and judgmental verses in the Old Testament and the Koran and so on? Are they really "dictated" by You? Or are they reflections of limited human understandings of You in certain times, places, cultures?

I can see why secularists are so anti-religion. And anti-You, or at least anti the view of You perpetuated by so many religions and religionists. No wonder secularists consider that You are fairy-tale, magical thinking. (Besides not wanting any god other than themselves, of course).

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Magical thinking

(originally journaled December 8, 2016)

I'm feeling annoyed--about all the people who make snide comments about how Christians engage in "magical thinking."

The fact is, all people engage in magical thinking. People who "make affirmations to the universe," people who "cross their fingers," people who "fall in love," even people who follow a lot of those exercise or diet programs. Oh! And people who buy lottery tickets!

If people are going to engage in "magical thinking," (and it does seem to be a human condition), why not THINK BIG? Reach out and embrace the biggest hope, love, possibility that you can. Get out of your little "wishful thinking box" and engage the Creator of all and see what happens. Are you afraid He might be real and your little "independent self" might not be so independent and important after all? Hmmm?

People also use phrases like "pure magic" to describe awesome events like the birth of a baby, or a beautiful piece of art, or an amazing landscape. The very fact of that love and amazement and awe shows we have a deep connection to, and need for relationship with, the transcendent.



Monday, 17 April 2017

Unneccessary burdens

(originally journaled December 1, 2016)

What unnecessary burdens am I carrying?


  • News: endless reading and thinking about politics, etc.
  • Worry about "religion" (though I've been dropping a lot of that).
  • I hate to say it--but friends whose beliefs and ideals are far from mine and I spend too much time worrying and wondering and analysing...
  • Some of those things on my to-do list that really aren't that important or necessary.
  • Other people's ideas about what I should do (and be).
  • Worrying about my grown children. When do they stop being my responsibility (other than to love them and pray for them)?

Please help me let these things go, Lord.
Thank You.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

dreams and other things

(originally journaled November 30, 2016)

I looked up the purpose of dreams because lately, my dreams are so active. Either I feel like I'm spending hours trying to pull together new learning and fit it in with what I already knew, or my dreams have a lot of content from the past, and yet "I" am usually my current age, while others may be a lot younger.

And those dreams are active and sometimes really emotional. But I feel like I'm more in control and satisfied with life (in my dreams), and I rarely have frightening dreams now and rarely have any of the old repetitive dreams.

Well, that pretty much lines up with the explanations of dreams: adding new experiences and learning to our past learning, and then integrating them.

And the "action" seems to be a sign of a more positive outlook on life. It says when people are depressed, their dreams are often flat and dull because they are blocking their emotions. And yes, that has happened to me: much more action in my dreams recently. So I guess that means I'm pretty normal and healthy these days :-)

I also took Michael Hyatt's "Lifescore Assessment." I got a score of 73, which puts me in the "success" groups but reminds me to still set goals and work on my low score areas (like lack of exercise, poor eating, and inadequate amount of time spent in relationships).

In terms of writing, I always feel like other people have more to share than I do, and they can write or say it better, so mostly I just share or regurgitate others' work. But my goodness--those experiences yesterday with a new client (and now a friend!) were a real gift and affirmation from God!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Reasoning or the power of Christ

(originally journaled November 26, 2016)

When I write about topics that people have strong feelings about, I try to be "reasonable." But sometimes I wonder if my reasonableness is too reasonable: wishy-washy, fear of angry reaction? Do I lack "boldness," even in secular matters, not just in Christian matters?

I want to make people think. And yes, there are things I believe in and I wish other people would consider. But I don't want to jam ideas down people's throats.

I would like to think that if only people would think things through reasonably, they would find themselves wanting to seek out what is good and true. Unfortunately, I'm beginning to conclude that isn't human nature.

I guess I grew up at a time where there was a movement of young people wanting a world of "peace and love," and also at a time when there was an emphasis, by some parts of society at least, based on the "Christian culture" I grew up in (which was still fairly acceptable if not so widely agreed upon as previously). Which left me with a hope that reason, along with peace and love, could meet together in a way that would point people ultimately to Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

I'm guessing I underestimated human nature as it unfortunately actually is. An awful lot of evil (mixed in with some goodness...). Only able to be overcome by the power of Christ--not by human "reasoning" (you'd think I'd have "got" that, seeing as how well the "apologetics" approach in the mid-to-late 20th century succeeded, or rather, didn't succeed very well at all).

Thursday, 6 April 2017

soul-anguish

(originally journaled November 9, 2016)

Yesterday and this morning, I've been skimming through the My Church Journey blog, starting from the beginning, around 2000, and moving forward (I got to 2008 so far). I was intending just to focus on "prayer" posts. But they are all prayer posts pretty much. (I was hoping to put together my "prayer book" I've been wanting to write for so long).

I am feeling ... I don't know. It seems like sometimes I was so in relationship with God. But other times so dry. How can the latter come after the former?

And sometimes such high hopes and excitement. Followed by (dare I say?) disappointment or at least wondering "Why?"

Yet all along the way, knowing You are there, even when it seemed like I'd wandered so far from You (in different ways at different times).

"Great is thy faithfulness O God my Father / There is no shadow of turning with Thee. / Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not; / As thou hast been thou forever wilt be. / ... Morning by morning new mercies I see."

Time has passed so quickly. Have I "failed?" Maybe not, after all. Maybe just my plans were not Your plans. You do know best.

Oh! Listen to this! "The most deeply taught Christians are generally those who have been brought into the searching fires of deep soul-anguish. If you have been praying to know more of Christ, do not be surprised if He takes You aside into a desert place, or leads you into a furnace of pain."

Well, that explains a lot!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Those desert experiences

(originally journaled Oct. 31, 2016)

Dear God,

Maybe I'm feeling "down" because of the grey, rainy weather, and because I'm so tired due to this constant arm pain from my summer injury.

But I was wondering, starting a few months ago, why I had "wandered" from You so much. I remember being happy that I had learned not to worry (and I thought I was trusting You). But then, somehow, in my "not worrying" I slowed down the amount of time I spent with You. And I spoke up for You less and less. And I called down aspects of the "institutional church" (and Christian schools and so on) more and more until I must have appeared to a lot of people to not believe in You at all. And it was at that same time that I was so, so, so exhausted and had to take a full year off from all my volunteer activities and even some of my business activities.

But with my recent efforts and longing to really follow You again, I am being reminded how it seems that the harder I try to follow You, the more discouraged and depressed I seem to get, and how I don't seem to have hardly any "joy" (or peace, for that matter).

There are so many voices in my head arguing at me all the time against You. It has to be the enemy. You promised to be with us. Can You please give me Your power and strength instead of me relying on my own "trying," and also give me some joy and peace to confirm You're with me?

I know about "desert experiences" and "long nights of the soul." And I feel like I've gone through that for a long time, maybe as many as 6 or 7 years, ever since the "great depression" that hit during that time of great losses (the death of both my parents, the loss of a job, the implosion of the church we were attending, and so on).

I'm so tired again ... just when I was starting to feel upbeat and happier and stronger before my arm accident 3 1/2 months ago. And I feel like I'm spiralling down again. I know my troubles are nothing compared to lots of people, so I shouldn't be complaining. But I do need Your help to battle the arguing voices and the depressed feelings and the tiredness. Even a few rays of sunshine now and then? (Well, I had a couple good laughs with the grandkids this weekend. Maybe I'm just not looking for the bright moments?).

My eyes are sore, and it seems like the peripheral vision on my left side is getting bad (I keep knocking things over) and my right ear still has ringing (mostly quieter at this point, thank You) a lot of the time. And my arm still hurts so much, and I'm too tired to exercise most of the time.

I also feel like such a failure spiritually. I hear those voices that keep telling me that I "denied You" and that therefore You have denied me. That I "turned back" and am no longer fit for Your kingdom. Of course, that is the enemy talking. Yes, it is! Because if it was true, You wouldn't still be drawing me and speaking to me. So ... I guess it is spiritual battle time. And yes, I guess the enemy likes to take advantage of physical and emotional down times.

Well! Now I'm getting angry at You, satan!!!

Oh dear Jesus, please help me. Please take this burden and lift it from me and help me rest in You. Please give me joy and peace no matter how other things go. Please help me love You, obey You, trust You, serve You. Truly.

Thank You, Lord.

In Jesus' name, please pour Your Spirit into me and make me strong in and for You. And please, please forgive me for all my denials. Please. I am so sorry. I did give in to the negative messages of the enemy. And I "threw out the baby with the bathwater" to a large degree. It's true. And I am truly sorry. Please forgive me, and help me to leave judging others up to you. I'm sorry ... I get annoyed by other people judging, and then I go on and on doing it myself. Please forgive me and help me. "Judge not lest you be judged." "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us."

Please help me to seek reconciliation with You (and with other believers whom I have judged...). In Jesus' name.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

peacemaking or spewing hatred

(originally journaled Oct. 26, 2016)

There are times to be a peacemaker ... and times to battle.

But either way, only under the presence of the Holy Spirit, sensitive and obedient to His leading. Completely.

But how do we get there? Lord?

I feel like I'm going to throw up.

I am hating the extreme, spewing hatred on so many supposedly "righteous, God-fearing" sites and posts, especially during --and after--election periods. Where, oh where, does facing the truth end, and spewing hatred start? How can we think God will be pleased? How can we think that this kind of behaviour is following Jesus?

Oh dear God, please give us Your wisdom.

Monday, 27 March 2017

The world's kingdoms

(originally journaled Oct. 26, 2016)

A friend visited yesterday and was saying he doesn't watch or listen to the news because it's all the same, over and over. And it pretty much is.

And--what can be done about it anyway? I don't know. I don't think politics will solve the world's problems because the so-called leaders seem to be pretty much puppets. The real power is hidden. I don't even know if "corporations" are the problem. There is a hidden power base behind even multi-nationals and super-rich people. And behind them all is the "prince of this world," the real enemy.

So we have to remember whose kingdom we belong to. Yours.

But how does that affect our life in the world's kingdoms? I wonder. If all Christians followed Jesus' life example, yes, there would be a lot more acts of love and compassion and healing and so on. But also a lot more persecution and suffering and martyrdom of believers--the cross we are called to bear. Because the world, under the enemy's power, hates those who truly love Jesus.

There are Christians who follow the examples where Jesus harshly called down the Pharisees and turned over the money changer tables--and there are Christians who quietly accept the world's punishment as Jesus did before Pilate and on the cross. And there are Christians who pray a great deal as Jesus did at night--and there are Christians who show love and compassion and healing as Jesus did.

Jesus did so many different things. But I think none of us can do all He did, righteously and balanced, because we are not God. So maybe we need to do the part(s) we're called to ... and not call down others who are called to other parts, and not become
"proud" of our part or get carried to an extreme by it.

Very complicated. Only possible by the powerful indwelling power of God. Help me, help us, Lord! Please!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Our eternal life and home

(originally journaled Oct. 21, 2016)

"We too, who are Christ's people, have vision of something beyond the difficulties and disappointments of this life. We are journeying toward fulfilment, completion, expansion of life. We, too, are 'going to the Father.' Much is dim concerning our home-country, but two things are clear. It is home, 'the Father's house.' It is the nearer presence of the Lord. We are all wayfarers, but the believer knows it and accepts it. He is a traveller, not a settler." -- R.C. Gillies

Over the period of my "great depression" somehow I lost sight of the promise of heaven. I even wondered if it was real, or if we are to simply accept spiritual heaven while we are here on earth--or what?

In the last few days I have been praying for a renewed--and even clearer--view of our eternal home and life. And today's devotional reading has really helped clear the clouds from my vision.

I've read, over the years, various descriptions of our heavenly home--scripture's descriptions, books like The Pilgrim's Progress, books and films and personal descriptions from those who briefly traveled to the other side, the story in The Shack of the narrator's daughter with Jesus--but they focus more on the "physical" attributes, although the description of Jesus in the meadow with the children (in The Shack) was more of a "personal encounter with Jesus" than most. I've also heard about people's dreams and visions of heaven.

But today's reading, with its focus on "the nearer presence of the Lord," of "going to the Father," of "journeying towards fulfilment, completion, expression of life," really spoke to me. That is what I long for. I don't know what it will be like in "physical" terms, but with
Father and Jesus and their Spirit... that's what I long for.

No more separation. No more fear of being cast out (which is something I struggle with, because of my failings and my sin... I know that I'm forgiven and I won't be cast out ... but the enemy uses it against me ... and I wonder about "unpardonable sin" and "denying Jesus" and "backsliding" and things like that.

Yet, You keep drawing me, so I must conclude that You are NOT giving up on me, and not casting me out :-) I am a child of the King, washed in the blood of Jesus--the blood that has separated me from the enemy's power, the blood that has destroyed his power and control!

Thank You, Lord.