Monday 25 September 2017

Congregational worship

I've started attending early morning Sunday service at the local Anglican church--which follows the traditional Book of Common Prayer liturgy--including many of the hymns I learned by memory when I was a child.

Perhaps it is a sign of getting older that I am nostalgic about things from way back in the day. But at the same time, there is great musical beauty in many of the classic hymns, as well as deep theology which is sometimes lacking in "choruses" which tend to repeat the same few lines over and over rather than digging deeper and exploring the thoughts being presented.

It's also quite appealing to have music that is designed to be sung as a group rather than meant to be sung by "entertainers" (dare I say that?)--and which is often difficult for the average person to sing along with chorally. In fact, in this church no one "leads" the music, other than the pianist playing the tune. It allows the congregation to focus on the words and to listen to each other, really "joining together" in praise and worship. There certainly isn't any "distraction" of watching the worship band or just letting the band do the singing.

In the 60 plus years I've attended services in a wide variety of churches, I've enjoyed nearly every kind of worship music I've encountered (except, I have to admit, when lyrics have been twisted awkwardly to fit modern sensibilities of gender and other issues. I understand the need to update lyrics in some cases, but does it really have to be done so awkwardly? Surely there are writers among the congregation who could rewrite lyrics--or write entirely new stanzas--that have better wording. Yes, end of rant). I understand the need to reach out to different age groups, too. But why can't we have a mixture of music styles so that people of all ages have an opportunity to worship together?

Even in these very traditional services I've been attending (and in which I'm decidedly "junior" in age!), with 3 hymns each service, while 2 are pretty traditional there is always at least 1 more modern piece. And the church offers two services, with the second offering more "youthful" music--not to mention regular jazz vespers services and other similar worship options. Some people attend all the services, which is pretty awesome I think.

I know that worship music can be a hot-button issue, and I'm not trying to start any arguments here. Each to his choice--but why oh why can't we find more ways to be in unity? Music is such a great opportunity to share and be generous. And anyway, worship music isn't meant to be about "getting my fix" or "making me feel good" after all. It's supposed to be about worshipping God, isn't it? Together?

Monday 18 September 2017

Prayer habits

I have been using The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime (Phyllis Tickle ed) for a couple weeks now. Four sets of prayers a day: morning, midday, vespers (suppertime-ish), compline (bedtime). I thought at first it would be easy because each set only takes a few minutes (and before that I was reading 6 chapters a day plus a long list of prayers, so on average about an hour and 15 minutes at one go per day--I'm still doing that sometimes, too, but not stressing about it).

What I found is that four times a day, even with short times, is a hard habit to build. I have a busy home-based business to run (tutoring, editing and writing), family to take care of, and all the other day to day responsibilities of life.  While I try to be a scheduled person, it never ceases to amaze me how many "unexpected moments" in life pop up. Unexpectedly, of course. It is so easy to be distracted from small things. It is easier to remember to do things that take more time--but when it's just 5 or 10 minutes, it is easy to miss.

I am gradually getting into the swing of the divine hours though, and each time find them more helpful, and enjoyable, than previously. I have decided the advice to read them aloud is a really good idea ... it does make me feel that I am part of the church, knowing that others are also taking part. Though sometimes I wish they were here with me and I could literally hear them.

I have also heard that creating a bit of a "ritual" helps. I was brought up in an evangelical denomination in which "ritual" seemed to be kind of a "dirty word" because it was connected with "those liturgical churches." Later I realized that our order of service laid out each Sunday in the bulletin was kind of liturgical itself. But at least we didn't do things like burn candles, and have "images" hanging on the wall, or cross ourselves, or kneel on kneeling benches facing the altar (come to think of it, back in the day we knelt on the floor, with our hands folded on the pew, facing the back of the church...). And we certainly didn't have little altar corners in our homes. I guess some of that (pride or fear or a little of both) is still hanging onto the edges of my mind, for I'm nervous about taking that advice to light a candle, or have a special quiet place with a picture, or maybe a cross or whatever, to help me focus. But it seems to me that it really might help me remember, and focus... Yes, time to give it a try. I'll set it up, now.

Monday 11 September 2017

Which church?

Yesterday (Sunday), I went to the early morning service at our local Anglican church. I have a friend who attends there, so I had someone to sit beside in the service, as well as at the coffee/fellowship time afterwards (I'm not very good at going places where I don't know anyone). And I chose the early morning service as they use the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) rather than the updated more ecumenical 11 a.m. service. I also appreciate the more traditional hymnal. And I could still attend the Sunday morning gathering of the small house church I've been a part of for a number of years.

The thing is, much as I love our little home gathering, somehow I really miss the depth of the traditional Anglican liturgy with its many scripture readings, prayers, and hymns, as well as the liturgy of the Eucharist. There is such a sense of unity through time and place--the whole "body of believers" who comprise the universal church. On the other time, at our home gathering, I appreciate the opportunity for everyone to share their thoughts and experiences related to their spiritual journey (and the potluck breakfast is pretty awesome, too, right?).

It seems pretty wonderful to me that Christ-followers really are a vast throng of believers from many places and traditions and cultures and even doctrinal "fine points," but centered on Jesus.

For a number of years, I swung from the "evangelical Protestant" church style and doctrinal statements of my upbringing to a "free, organic, home-based church" style based (to some degree) on what we can glean about the early church from New Testament scriptures. I had reacted strongly to a couple church break-ups I had recently experienced and was searching for a more "perfect church." I have come to the conclusion that only our Lord is perfect ... and that the church as a body of believers is bound to reflect (as it should), like a kaleidoscope, the vast variety and creativity beauty of its members, who are so different and unique--created as amazing individuals by their Creator, but brought together into a complex, but simply centered, unity with Him. Along my life long journey, I've attended and participated in a wide variety of "denominations" as well as exploring and building close friendships with people from still other traditions. While I see the value of, in some senses, "committing to" a local group of the church, I am more and more convinced that we also need to know and love our brothers and sisters from many traditions, and learn from and support each other in our journey together.

In reflection, I feel as though my personal journey itself has been a beautiful kaleidoscope. The further along I go, the less I am certain of all the "details" (doctrinal fine points some people are so concerned about and convinced are the only truth) but the more convinced I become that our unity in Christ, who is Truth, is what holds us together and creates the sunlight that makes the journey worthwhile and real, even with all its unexpected moments, twists and turns, and yes, wonderings and doubts and wilderness time.

I am grateful to my times spent in Anglican, Alliance, Free Methodist, Faith Gospel, Nazarene, Anglican, Pentecostal, non-denominational evangelical with a Pentecostal flavour, Anglican, Mennonite Brethren, Baptist, home church... and again, Anglican (there seems to be a pattern, a feeling "at home" to the latter!) Christian churches that have opened their doors and hearts to me--not to mention dear friends from many other traditions who have also shared their hearts with me, and from whom I've learned so much--Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Judaism, etc. And I also appreciate my deep friendships with those who are also seeking truth through alternative paths such as traditional indigenous beliefs, Mormonism, the Watchtower society, universalism, Baha'i, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhs, Islam, new age, and so on. We may "agree to disagree" about some things, but in all these paths I see reflections of our Creator's love and goodness, His reaching out to us.

I know that last paragraph may be distressing to some of my friends who are so sure of the exact rightness of their particular doctrines and creeds, in contrast to all others. I am sure that God knows their hearts just as He knows mine, and I trust his Spirit to, in the end, draw each of us into His Truth, which in our humanness here on this little planet, is far larger and more amazing (and Truthful) that we can imagine. And perfect. His perfection, not ours.

Saturday 9 September 2017

From the gut, not from above the eyebrows

My last post "caught me up" on writing from my journals... and now I'll be writing from where I am right now. I'm not sure how that will go, but it will be from my heart.

I've been reading so many books about writing ... and they almost all focus on writing from the heart. From things that are really important to you. This seems to be a somewhat different approach--and perhaps even better--than the advice to "write from what you know." In her book, Writing From Personal Experience, Nancy D. Kelton calls it "writing from your gut" rather than "from above your eyebrows." I like that picture! I have been so frustrated over the years as I've tried to write "intellectually/from above my eyebrows" (in the case of this blog, "theologically"), always feeling that there are lots of other people out there who are so much more knowledgeable and wise than I am. But Kelton points out that "Everyone has something special to say and a unique way of seeing and saying it. This individuality bubbles up when we allow it to happen and when we get out of our own way." Yes! Writing from the gut--from the heart. I would add, to that suggestion to allow it to happen as we get out of our own way, the additional thought of allowing it to happen as "we get the demands and expectations of others out of our way," since that has always been a problem for me.

In the case of a blog like this, writing from the heart has a sincerity and honesty that purely intellectual writing lacks--and it, of course, involves the unity of my spirit and heart with that of my Creator's Holy Spirit.

Reading the Psalms is a good way to experience that kind of writing, as they are so real, so human. They reflect all the aspects of the writer's heart, and share the reality that we don't have all the answers, that there is mystery--and also emotion and frustration and questioning, along with joy and peace and a bit of knowledge. I do believe we still "see darkly" as I Corinthians 13 puts it--"now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror" (NLT)--but gradually, bit by bit, our Father is opening our eyes.

And guess what? He doesn't mind if our knowledge isn't precisely laid out creed-like; He understands our journey; indeed, HE lays out our pathway, and sometimes it's pretty rough and winding and wilderness-like. "Straight and narrow" it may be, but as Christian discovers in The Pilgrim's Progress, there are some very dark patches, some steep and rocky slopes, some very lonely stretches. Indeed, sometimes it doesn't even seem like He's there with us. He does know what we need--including a lot of growing pains. Especially growing pains, I suspect.

Speaking of growing pains and questionings and mystery, have you watched the movie Silence (2016, director Martin Scorsese)? If you haven't, I do recommend it.

Monday 4 September 2017

Do Christians pray and pray and pray and pray...

(originally journaled Aug 14, 2017--yes, I'm almost caught up :-) )

Well! I had a wonderful "mini-retreat" kind of weekend, all my myself...and feel much more assured that You love me, are with me, approve of me...and are guiding me even when I don't "see" it in any emotional or concrete way--but on the other hand, this whole weekend has been pretty concrete that You are in me, in my life.

Yes, I'd like to somehow be more "clearly Christian" and "reach out to people more clearly" and be surer that I'm including You in all my daily activities...but I'm glad to know You are with and in me, even without the "for sure, clearly."

The Flee, Be Silent, Pray book by Ed Cyzewski has been a great help and assurance. And I really do feel relieved at the thought of being able to have short devotional times a few times a day versus intensive many chapters of scripture reading and long prayers once a day.

The only thing I wonder about is all those people with their needs that I've been praying for day after day. I always remember hearing about that girl in India who would pray for over 500 people every night ... and great men of the church who'd pray for 4 or more hours a day on their knees in the closet or at their bedside, wearing dips into the floor. And Susannah Wesley's prayer times with her apron over her head while her dozen children ran around (although she did have a cook, gardener, and maids to help with the kids!).

We were so taught that real/great Christians prayed and prayed and prayed--until they "broke through" (every day), though they seemed to be mostly men (reverends) with wives to take care of life, or single people without too many other responsibilities!

Oh well, I've always been attracted by Brother Lawrence's approach (as in The Practice of the Presence of God) which is much more of being aware of and listening to You in all the little moments of the day. And now this book I just read about "The Divine Hours" and "Contemplative Prayers" and "The Examen."

Maybe I could do my "list everyone" prayers once or twice a week--or divide up the list into 7 days--so I don't sometimes have the feeling of it "hanging over my head" all the time. (Terrible of me to have that attitude, eh?)

Okay, so I'm going to order The Divine Hours books by Phyllis Tickle. And I also have the Anglican Prayer Book that belonged to my grandfather, and the Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne et al. Those should keep me going in a way that I can really handle, in a way that I can focus on You throughout the day.

Friday 1 September 2017

He Loves Us!

Do you ever feel, as I sometimes do, that your spiritual life is going nowhere, that it's stuck in a rut? Or do you wonder if you've ever written anything that might be of help to anyone?

I started this blog in 2009 (yes, 8 years ago) ... and I also transferred some blog posts from other blogs I'd written as far back as 2000 (17 years ago!) after the platforms (like Geo Cities--which I started blogging on in the mid-1990s) were closing down. I am amazed to see I've written 884 posts on this site (and that's not counting all my other blog sites and posts over the years).

Sometimes it's a good idea to go back and re-read some of the things you've written in the past (in blogs, in old journals, on old computer disks...). It's reassuring to see the journey as it has rolled out. It's reassuring to see how God has been directing you, loving you, holding your hand even when things have seemed to be at their darkest and most hopeless.

He loves us!

Monday 28 August 2017

You are Part of My Plans and Purposes

(originally posted on another blog 9 years ago ... and still relevant!)

"Just a little longer, My child.  I have it all under control.  I am working out My plans and My purposes - perfectly - and not only will your turn to be 'part of my work' come, but you are already, right now, part of it--only you don't see it right now.

I am with you, and you are with Me.  You are!  Just trust Me.  Keep abiding.

(Don't you think that maybe it's a good thing that you 'can't see' how I'm 'using you' in My plans?  For, can't you see, the temptation to become proud isn't there dangling itself in front of you!  And isn't that a good thing, My little child?)"

Thursday 24 August 2017

Trust My Love

(Originally posted 9 years ago this month ... but it's a message I still need to hear!)

My  child…

I love you!  Trust in me, simply,  like a little child.  Don’t try to make it more difficult than I mean it to be.   I am the One who has already fought the battle, and won it.

You are still trying to do it yourself.  You still must let me take control.  You can’t cajole, earn my love and care and protection.  It’s all there already.  I’ve  done the job.  It’s finished.  I have defeated the enemy!  The victory is won!   You are victorious – in Me!  Through Me!  The world can’t touch you.  It can’t  take away from you (or Me) what I have already completed.  It’s done.

I am already protecting you, already delivering you, already have placed you under My wings.  You are already in my dwelling place.  It’s not something you have to  work for, earn, struggle for--not even “believe in.”  It is.

I AM.  And we are united.  The vine and the brand vitally united.  Living My Life together!  A  mommy, a daddy, are there for their baby.  It just cries out knowing that Mommy and Daddy, in their all-consuming love, will respond, shelter, care for, fight for!  Win the victory for!

It’s only when a child starts seeking its own independence that simple faith,  simple belief, starts to unravel.  Just depend on Me.

(Can you really think of even one reason not to?)

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!


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


(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


(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


(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


(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


(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