Monday, 30 January 2017


(journaled June 2, 2016)

Quoting from Madame Guyon: "I entreat you, give no place to despondency. This is a dangerous temptation--a refined, not a gross temptation of the adversary.... Melancholy contracts and withers the heart, and renders it unfit to receive the impressions of grace... God's designs regarding you, and his methods of bringing about these designs, are infinitely wise."

I wonder: Is "despondency" (I'm guessing what we call "depression") always a "temptation of the adversary?"

It is true that it can "wither the heart ... unfit ... to received the impressions of grace" ... and can be a "dark night of the soul." And yet, God used it in my life to give me rest. And He used it to help me "loosen my grip" on things that kept my focus off Him and instead on actions (studying doctrine/dogma; worship music; etc.--Not "bad" things, but not the center, not the focus) that distracted me from focusing on Him.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus ... and the things of earth [including the things we focus on to reach God, instead of focusing on Him] will go strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace."

I've begun to see light after the long darkness. And it is His light. Sometimes the old sources of light I used to seek still do call out to me ... and while they aren't "bad" things, I do not want to go back to them, at least not in the way I did before. In fact, I feel a certain dread when I think of them, especially of the focus on worship music and how that turned out. Perhaps I know their draw and do not want to be trapped again. Or perhaps I still have pain, hurt, anger that I need to let go and forgive. Lord, please help me forgive.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

If it be Thy Will

(journaled May 19, 2016)

"A Prayer for the recovery of a sick person: ...we implore thy mercy, that ... he may be restored, if it be thy gracious will, to health of body and mind, and give thanks to thee...; through Jesus Christ our Lord."

I really believe in "if it be thy will." It is not a lack of faith, as some claim, to trust in Your will, to pray that Your will be done--in whatever we are praying for. In fact, I think that due to our humanity, our tendency to trust in ourselves, that it takes more faith to trust in You (though of course it shouldn't, but we really don't see You as You are) than in our own wishes and ideas of what is best.

Monday, 23 January 2017

A Prayer for Troubled Minds

(journaled May 19, 2016)

Anglican Common Prayer: "A prayer for persons troubled in mind or conscience: ...give him a right understanding of himself, and of thy threats and promises; that he may neither cast away his confidence in thee, nor place it anywhere but in thee. Give him strength against all his temptation.... Break not the bruised reed, not quench the smoking flax. Shut not up thy tender mercies in displeasure; but make him to hear of joy and gladness.... Deliver him from fear of the enemy, and lift up the light of thy countenance upon him, and give him peace; through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

I could have prayed this prayer for myself many times--and it is a prayer I can pray for others too--during times of depression, fear of loss of salvation, feelings of unworthiness, uncertainty of God's love. It is a truly practical prayer, for we all suffer from these states of mind from time to time, and some suffer much and often. But Your mercies, hope and joy ARE available!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Death and heaven and related thoughts

(Originally journaled Feb 25, 2015)

"I will trust in the Lord till I die."

"You who raised Jesus from the dead: raise us also to life abundant."

When I was so depressed--more than once--I came to a point where I was no longer afraid to die because I would be done with this world, and home to peace with Jesus.  Maybe it also took away that motivation to "follow the rules" so I'd be saved and it led me to just be a Jesus follower instead. I still sometimes find myself temporarily "worrying," but I'm not afraid of death anymore.

That time I seriously wanted to jump from the bridge into the icy waters of the river, I guess I wasn't really thinking of "eternity" at all. I just wanted to slip into the cold icy water and slip away---to sleep and never wake up to another unhappy moment. That's a different thing than not being afraid to die. That's just being desperately tired and hopeless.  I get why people do that. Is it really a "sin" when you can't think of anything but escaping from your circumstances ... and all you want is to totally sleep for a hundred years or so?  I bet most people feel that way at one time or another. The thing that stopped me that time was my five children at home who needed me. The decision not to jump didn't have anything to do with "heaven or hell" at that point, it was just thinking of my children's needs.

I guess I should be all excited about heaven. I don't know, though, when that will come or how it will be. All I know is someday I will meet You ... and I am okay with that. I'm not afraid because I know You love me and have brought me all along, even in my times of doubt and rebellion and questionings, so I can't imagine You'll change Your mind after all. However, when I think about it, I would like to have something with which to say "thank You." And I think that all You would want is for me to love and follow you more faithfully than I do. And if I do that, then the "praise" which I know is sadly lacking in my life, in my walk with You, will also grow.

Right now, the thought of "enthusiastic praise" just makes me feel tired. I guess maybe I just need to get out and get some fresh air and sunshine ... and more time with You, or, at least, more "practice of Your presence"?

I do love you, Lord. I'm just not feeling very "demonstrative" right now. But loving You is more than just a sense of duty, or fear of hell, or whatever. It is from knowing I am loved by you.

"Give us grace to live faithfully whatever the cost. Amen"

Lord, please just give me the grace to live faithfully. Thank you, Lord. Your amazing grace really is enough--though some help to follow you more faithfully and boldly would be nice.

"You order your kingdom with justice, Lord: and judge the nations with loving-kindness."

Yes, you do judge with loving-kindness.  You do. Thank You!

"Train us to be faithful, Lord, and teach us your ways so our lives may reflect you, to the glory of God the Father. Amen."

This is what I really want. Please.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Meaningful Rites

(journaled May 9, 2016)

From "The Order of Confirmation" in the Anglican prayer book:

"Almighty and everlasting God, who hast vouchsafed to regenerate these thy servants by Water and the Holy Ghost, and hast given unto them forgiveness of all their sins: Strengthen them, we beseech thee, O Lord, with the Holy Ghost the Comforter, and daily increase in them thy manifold gifts of grace; the spirit of wisdom and understanding; the spirit of counsel and ghostly strength; the spirit of knowledge and true godliness; and fill them, O Lord, with the spirit of thy holy fear, now and forever. Amen.

... that in the end they may obtain everlasting life; through our Lord Jesus Christ....

... we beseech thee, to direct, sanctify, and govern both our hearts and bodies, in the ways of thy laws, and in the works of thy commandments; that through thy most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen."

Maybe if the church (non-liturgical churches) had at least a few meaningful rites to bring new believers into the body, and prayers that explained and assured the new believers, there wouldn't be so many that end up going out the back door soon after they arrive?