typepad journal entries 2012

The Eve of a Year on the Journey

Dear Lord

As I prepare to share my walk with you for one year I ask you to be with me as I write as you are with me on the journey. Lord I thank you for the amazing changes you made in my life in 2011.

I thank you for placing one person in my life who pointed me in the right direction many years ago.

In 2009 you placed another person in my path who spoke truth I wasn’t willing to listen to yet, I thank you for that person because when I turned up on their doorstep asking for help they did not turn me away and again pointed me on.

I thank you for the person I used as the face of human judgement, on that human level they were shocked. I thank you that the unshockable was shocked because in that I could see what I needed to change.

I thank you for the healing person you brought into my life, without you and without them I could not be this new creation that you created.

You created in me a clean heart, where you reside. My heart was softened by you Lord and I thank you for this.

Lord you are wonderful, when I think of you and all you created. You are this awesome powerful God who made the universe and everything in it, and you want me too. Words have been a long time coming to my mouth, to my pen to describe how absolutely and tremendously gobsmackingly brilliant it makes me feel to be part of your family, to be adopted by you.

I am unworthy of the place you have provided for me in your family and I am eternally grateful for this. Lord, you are Lord.

Lord thank you for forgiving and forgetting, and Lord please be with me as I share our journey.

Amen

For seven months I have been working on how to voice this change, I know what you want me to do next, and so this is my preparatory stage. Lord I know I should just dive out the boat, and not just dip my toe in, the hesitancy is human, I know, because I have seen and been, party to your glory, that with your strength in me anything is possible.

Greyness and Rainbows

“This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 NIV

2012 has begun, in Ireland there is much to be downcast about if finance, money and spending are important to you. I figure that I’ve a roof over my head and food in the press so I’ve nothing to complain about.

Yesterday I met a woman I had not seen in church for a couple of years, I didn’t ask her reasons for leaving, although being human it was on the tip of my tongue. Instead I hope I showed her God’s love through me in an act of kindness. It wasn’t random, although it was spontaneous and I felt afterward that I approached the situation well.

I have a friend who I am thinking about today, she is unsettled, the weather unsettles her and makes her look at everything in grey way. I pray that God intervenes with her so she can find joy in rain: splashing in puddles, standing in rain with face upturned as the raindrops land on it, an invigourating run, skipping around puddles.

Lord I thank you that I can be used by you to show kindness, I thank you for my friend in her greyness may she find your rainbow colours of your world even when it is raining. Your rainbow, a sign of the covenant with Noah, your sign for me when I begin backsliding, I thank you for this. And Lord I thank you for the frugality you gave me, and Lord please, I lift up to you those people in this country who are in financial hardship that will get worse before it gets better. Lord I feel for them and want to help them, help me do this in your name, Lord because you are the giver of freedom, freedom from worries, freedom from sin, freedom from debt. Lord finally I know you’ll be in Nigeria, in this state of emergency, Lord protect people as they congregate on Sunday to praise and worship you. Amen

Creating Creation

1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90 (NIV)

This might powerful God we have has a vivid imagination, he created from scratch the whole heavens, the planets, the constellations – he put the stars in the sky. He created the sun and moon, and the earth. On the earth he made the mountains and valleys, the oceans and lakes. He made animals and birds and humans. Every natural occuring thing on this planet was created by him. He was a creator, an inventor, and he did it for his pleasure. We are his pleasure and he delights when we find pleasure in him.

He made us stewards of this earth, he put us above the rest of the animals to be caretakers until he comes back. Are we good stewards? If we have animals do we look after them with feeding and grooming? If we have land do we tend to it lovingly? Do we care for his environment? Do we care about our neighboorhoods, our communities, our neighbours? Do we look after the widows and orphans as it says –

God doesn’t like what we normally associate with religion: rituals, ceremonies, and services. What he wants is for us to act with kindness and service to those who need it most. If you’re doing that, you’re practicing the one “religion” that God approves of. James 1:27 NLT

We have a responsibility to the earth and to community. If we focus on the Lord, we are in relationship with him, the relationships we then have with the earth and with other humans should be in that sphere. That is we should treat our neighbours and enemies as equal to ourselves, God loves everyone, we, if we are in relationship with God, ill be bearing the fruits of the Spirit in the way we live our lives.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galations 5

The fruits of the Spirit I always thought were things you tried to do, you try to king, you try to show love etc. Since becoming a new creation I am amazed at how these fruits just do their thing. The things I tried doing I now do without effort, they have become a part of me. I cannot be bitter, I cannot have envy or conceit. I am filled with joy and peace, I expound my understanding of the love God has for us all. It can be uncomfortable to hear that God loves everyone equally, no matter who or what they are.

For a few months last year I was maintained in a bubble of joy, I was in that joy but had no way of communicating it to others. The bubble has burst, not in an imploding sense but in a huge explosion of fireworks and bonfires and bangers – I have to let people se the work the Lord has done for themselves. On my own I still have no way of explaining it but when the Lord’s strength is with me I don’t forget my words, or speak unintelligibly. I speak with and for my Lord.

 

Lord, thank you that you have come into my life, you have changed my life, I am living because of you and I am living in you. You are all I need, You are my sustainance, with you in me I feel able to take on any challenge you give me. I thank you that the fruits of the Spirit that I thought you had to work at are freely given.

Lord I think of those people caught up in trauma in the Congo, in Syria and the rest of the Middle East, Lord I lift these people to you, and I think of the families who have lost or gained members over the holiday period. Lord be with all these people in their joy and in their sorrow. Lord I love you and I am eternally grateful for the equal portion of love that I and my fellow humans have received, thankful for your grace and mercy. Thank you Lord, Amen

Building Site

 1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90 (NIV)

This might powerful God we have has a vivid imagination, he created from scratch the whole heavens, the planets, the constellations – he put the stars in the sky. He created the sun and moon, and the earth. On the earth he made the mountains and valleys, the oceans and lakes. He made animals and birds and humans. Every natural occuring thing on this planet was created by him. He was a creator, an inventor, and he did it for his pleasure. We are his pleasure and he delights when we find pleasure in him.

He made us stewards of this earth, he put us above the rest of the animals to be caretakers until he comes back. Are we good stewards? If we have animals do we look after them with feeding and grooming? If we have land do we tend to it lovingly? Do we care for his environment? Do we care about our neighboorhoods, our communities, our neighbours? Do we look after the widows and orphans as it says –

God doesn’t like what we normally associate with religion: rituals, ceremonies, and services. What he wants is for us to act with kindness and service to those who need it most. If you’re doing that, you’re practicing the one “religion” that God approves of. James 1:27 NLT

We have a responsibility to the earth and to community. If we focus on the Lord, we are in relationship with him, the relationships we then have with the earth and with other humans should be in that sphere. That is we should treat our neighbours and enemies as equal to ourselves, God loves everyone, we, if we are in relationship with God, ill be bearing the fruits of the Spirit in the way we live our lives.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galations 5

The fruits of the Spirit I always thought were things you tried to do, you try to king, you try to show love etc. Since becoming a new creation I am amazed at how these fruits just do their thing. The things I tried doing I now do without effort, they have become a part of me. I cannot be bitter, I cannot have envy or conceit. I am filled with joy and peace, I expound my understanding of the love God has for us all. It can be uncomfortable to hear that God loves everyone equally, no matter who or what they are.

For a few months last year I was maintained in a bubble of joy, I was in that joy but had no way of communicating it to others. The bubble has burst, not in an imploding sense but in a huge explosion of fireworks and bonfires and bangers – I have to let people se the work the Lord has done for themselves. On my own I still have no way of explaining it but when the Lord’s strength is with me I don’t forget my words, or speak unintelligibly. I speak with and for my Lord.

 

Lord, thank you that you have come into my life, you have changed my life, I am living because of you and I am living in you. You are all I need, You are my sustainance, with you in me I feel able to take on any challenge you give me. I thank you that the fruits of the Spirit that I thought you had to work at are freely given.

Lord I think of those people caught up in trauma in the Congo, in Syria and the rest of the Middle East, Lord I lift these people to you, and I think of the families who have lost or gained members over the holiday period. Lord be with all these people in their joy and in their sorrow. Lord I love you and I am eternally grateful for the equal portion of love that I and my fellow humans have received, thankful for your grace and mercy. Thank you Lord. Amen

Take No Offence

Psalm 1 (NIV)

1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

 

Had a great opportunity for fellowship yesterday and grabbed it with both hands. It was fabulous, we both had issues coming into the fellowship, situations we were in and needed guidance on how to proceed. We both were able to bring examples from previous situations. There was an honesty to the conversation that is rare.

The rarity of honesty saddens me. The little white lies that we tell in a false sense of kindness, but it isn’t. And yet if we don’t have honesty, what do we have. God knows everything about us:

Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. Psalm 139:4

so if we aren’t honest with him, he knows. If we aren’t honest in our every day life, he knows. It is right therefore to keep honesty central to our lives.

How to do this and remain compassionate can be difficult. In our relationships with each other it can sound brutal or vicious if we don’t pursue our lives with a heart of compassion. The fruits of the Spirit that are freely given help us, Christ’s strength in us, helps us and if we keep these with us all the time then it becomes easier.

Lord, I thank you for fellowship, I thank you that there is a human I can be honest with, I thank you for bringing this person into my life, slap bang into the middle of my situation, Lord help me maintain this relationship regardless of my situation.

Lord,thank you for today, it was great to spend time in your presence, I loved the nudge, thank you.

Lord, after this seasonal period our country is full of people who have a gaping hole in their lives,and Lord I know that people have been hurt  by the church. Please help me show you to them, they are aching for something, they don’t know what it is, please Lord help me to show them it is you. You are the answer to any equation. Lord I thank you for the love you have for all people.

Amen

Lying Heart

6 If we say, “We have a relationship with God” and yet live in the dark, we’re lying. We aren’t being truthful.
7 But if we live in the light in the same way that God is in the light, we have a relationship with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from every sin.8 If we say, “We aren’t sinful” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong. John 1:6-9 (God’s Word)

It’s weird but in my journal today I was writing about honesty, yesterday I wrote about Godincidence and yet here we are again. Honesty and living in the light of Christ. We can lie to the whole world including ourselves but even if we lie to God it is irrelevant because he already knows we have lied.

To lay bare our entire lives including the hidden bits that no one knows about, that must be our aim to be living in the light of Christ. Little white lies, we talk ourselves into using them to save face (pride), to avoid conflict or in a misguided sense of kindness. However telling the truth, being honest can hurt a person’s feelings. As Christians we have to work out a way of being honest whilst staying compassionate.

More than that, we have to learn how to be honest with ourselves, and others and God. It doesn’t come naturally, it is a conscious decision, although as we practice it, it becomes easier until it is inherent within us to be honest.

Saying nothing, is that lying by omission? If we are to stay in the light of the Lord we must be in relationship with him, so we can’t say nothing to him. By surrendering completely to his will, and if we have brought our sins before him and been made new,  we can only be honest, no matter how raw it makes us feel.

Some sins don’t go away, they are hiding just out of our view, waiting for us to slide backward. In October and November 2011, I was being ground down by a family member and it caused me eventually to backslide into smoking again. I forgot to call on the Lord for help and instead went to my secular crutch, cigarettes. I now have to work out how I am going to stop again.

Lying is even easier to backslide into, so we must be watchful of lies and how they can invade not just our speech but our minds and hearts.

13 keep your tongue from evil 
and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good; 
seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34 (NIV)

Rubbish Removal

Twenty five years ago today a commitment was made, of course we didn’t know we were in a contract we were just two drunken youths messing about, going further than we probably intended. There was a product to this coupling, a relationship. Something I had not planned on, my life was not in order, chaos reigned, I was working full time in a bar whilst attending an odd lecture at uni, whilst drinking copious quantities of vodka, brandy and Koelsch. I had a total deathwish mentality and pursued dangerous sport and leisure activities – all were intended to stop my brain working. None worked.

Amazingly pregnancy mushed my mind, I got tired for the first time in my adult life, I could sleep, albeit a hour or two. and I loved to rest. The nothingness I had long aimed for came naturally. Now for some Godincidence and intervention:

On my 21st birthday I asked God for a baby (I didn’t specify anything else but I assumed it would be a girl)

21 days before my next birthday I gave birth to my son, my husband was present, (also not asked for)

Twenty four years later I meet a wise young lady of twenty four who was born at the same time that I was asking God for my baby. This young lady is now my sister in Christ.

So how does this help me today, well God didn’t just bless me with a boy child. My son had multiple disabilities, and I have learned so much from him.

The most recent occasion was when he got coerced into visiting a healer. He spent five hours being pulled and prodded. Afterwards he just asked me to make an appointment with a physio, he felt that there would be no healing, in himself, he believes that God gave him the disabilities to inspire others, to encourage others and vitally to challenge others. He inspires, encourages and challenges not just others but me too.

He has such an optimistic streak, one time he was potentially facing dialysis and when I explained what it involved, he said, cool I can play games without you telling me to stop lounging around. My son is way cool.

Every time I face a barrier, a small pebble that trips me up or a ten foot wall, and forget to pray, he is there in my head reminding me, that all things are possible, just let go and fly.

28 Do you not know? 
   Have you not heard? 
The LORD is the everlasting God, 
   the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
He will not grow tired or weary, 
   and his understanding no one can fathom. 
29 He gives strength to the weary 
   and increases the power of the weak. 
30 Even youths grow tired and weary, 
   and young men stumble and fall; 
31 but those who hope in the LORD 
   will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; 
   they will run and not grow weary, 
   they will walk and not be faint.

Lord, thank you for the gifts and blessings you have sent me, for the ones I have ignored in so long, and for the ones that remind me daily of your love for me. Lord, only you can know how grateful I am for the changes you have made in my life, for so long I hid from you, I hid my sinful life from you, although now I know there is no hiding place for sin, you are my hiding place when things get too much, you are my one and only hope.

Lord, again today I was thinking of this country, of the young people who must emigrate to pursue careers, of the families ripped apart by debt, by circumstances, by abuse. Lord I lift these people up to you, that they may find the peace that can only be found in you. Lord I thank you for the marriage I have, that it is fused through you and that you have blessed it. Lord I thank you for my husband and my children, all different and all equal in your eyes. Lord use me, however you want, I am ready and I have my hand up, Lord thank you. Amen

 

Little Christmas

Last year I held a fellowship meeting in my home, due to the weather only mountain folk attended, it was great fellowship. This year I forgot it was womens’ Christmas until a neighbour asked for a lift to town. However I did have great fellowship in someone else’s home. So I think I will start a new tradition of fellowship wherever and whenever I can.

46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.Acts 2

I love to listen about the Lord and I love (now) to talk about the Lord, it doesn’t ever get old the way gossip does, it doesn’t lose its lustre. Spending time in the fellowship of other Christians is precious, more precious than most of us realise.

There are parts of the world where it is illegal to be Christian, to become Christian, to meet other Christians and lots of other religious intolerant laws. Persecution of people is wrong be it because of faith, gender, age, culture, or lifestyle choice and yet persecution is rife.

How extra special therefore for good fellowship. Only by meeting with other healthy Christians can we grow, can we encourage and be encouraged, can we be inspired.

Lord I thank you today that I can be open about you, that I can share with other Christians in fellowship and when the opportunity arises to share your love with people who don’t know you or who have drifted away.

Lord there are people in this world who long to shout your name but cannot due to human law, Lord I lift these people up to you, in Nigeria especially as new waves of persecution surface.

Lord thank you for the changes you have made in my life, thank you for your continued presence in my heart, thank you for your love, your grace and your mercy. Amen

 

Tardis Thinking

I have been thinking today about gifts. About how I have been given gifts that I have misused or ignored. Since becoming a new creation I have thought about the past, not in a hyper critical way as I have before but having a look see.

There are gifts I was given that I no longer have like athletic ability which I will never get back. There are gifts that were put away because of the situation I was in, like writing. There are gifts that I have fought against having my entire life that I am now putting to God’s work, like my intelligence.

There are new gifts, communicating God’s message, and singing God’s songs.

I am not going to hide under a barrel anymore because it is not for me I am using these gifts, it is for the Lord.

Lord I thank you for the gifts you have bestowed on me. I want to use them now, I want to use them for your glory. I am yours, do with me as you will.

Lord, a terrible accident occured in NewZealand today, Lord there are families in grief,I lift them up to you as they begin to come to terms with what has happened.

Amen

Road Works

In order for this to function effectively as a journal, I need to get over myself, and get real. A friend reminded me a few weeks ago that if I wanted to achieve anything, if I put my mind to it I could. We weren’t talking about something airy fairy or pie in the sky, we were talking about

suicide

My friend was describing a third party and an attempted suicide. The conversation flowed and the remark that I was left with was “I am so glad Suzie that you never tried because I know you would succeed.”

How glad I am that in my darkest hour, I turned not to a way out but the Way. Jesus met me at my point of pain and healed me. Nothing outside of me has changed. I am still in the same situations.

My way of dealing with it all has changed totally. My life is centred on God, and I am alive because of him and I live through him, when I thought the road was closed, that the stuff I was in was too great for me to live with, God showed me a new route.

This new road is not without potholes, twists and turns. The life, the new creation he made me into, sails past these potholes, takes the right line going into each bend and then every now and then a pothole stops you in your tracks.

I am having one of those days today, a pothole was delivered on a piece of paper. As it was given, I was told it was no big deal, a formalisation thing, it’s nothing. Well to me, it is a big deal, it is not just formalising an agreement, it scares the living daylights out of me.

I have spent the rest of the day asking the Lord is he sure he is asking the right person. What kind of Christian does that make me – questioning God?

Whilst doing this, I was also thinking back to the mess I was in before he saved me and how awesome he makes me feel, how wonderful the change he has made in me. So I need to get over myself and get real.

Lord, I am sorry for questioning you, I am sorry that I began to panic instead of bringing the issue immediately to you.

Lord I thank you for the changes you have made in my life. I am eternally grateful for the grace, mercy and love you have shown me. Help me get over myself, Help me get real. I am yours Lord, use me as you will.

Lord, thank you for the healing and good news that came to me today, Lord I lift up those people to you, thank you for their healing, thank you for their good news.

Amen

Temper tantrum


I am not signing a temperance pledge, I am signing an internal pledge to not lose my temper. It is something I have struggled with my entire life and in recent times have discovered I don’t tantrum as much. In fact I can’t remember the last time I did, that is how long ago it is.

It got me thinking about that boiling anger that erupts out of nowhere and explodes like a scatter bomb. King David displayed it when Nathan told him the parable of the rich and poor man. I wondered did I tantrum in response to being put on the back foot, was it some primeval response to being humiliated, was it some internal judgement switch that came on in an instant because something was unfair.

And that got me thinking about what was unfair:

  • The socio-political culture in all countries, power corrupts; in this country we have an attitude that we would do exactly the same thing in the politicians’ place. I disagree, I think we would face the same temptations that politicians face, but I think we would be so overwhelmed by the salary received we might not claim expenses. Then a year or two down the line we might slip in a receipt for something possibly dodgy, sure that’s okay. We don’t know it is actually dodgy, we jusy think it might be, the next year it will be something else until, yes we are as guilty as the present encumbered. It is that slight leak, that inperctible movement away from what is right. So we need to get off our moral high ground and admit that we too when in power could be corrupt.
  • That people in this world are denied basic rights of clean water, food and shelter. We do our bit, don’t we, put money into tins as we go about our grocery shopping, maybe even sponsor a child, but have we put any thought into how the world’s water can be purified effectively and cheaply, have we considered developing a new kind of housing (portable, rainproof, windproof, sunproof) perhaps encorporating solar panels to be used as energy. And if we have thought about it, did we research it, found out what materials were already available.
  • That polio is rife in this world, a friend of mine is in her fifties, she is one of the last victims of polio born in Ireland. It was an aging population (in a good way) and then we had a few people come to live here from other countries and polio was seen again in younger people. One drop of vaccine on a sugar lump to every child in the world would erradicate this disease, the same goes for all those other diseases we don’t have anymore e.g .small pox, TB. How to go about it? How to give these lifesaving vaccines? Volunteer on a vaccine programme? Find a way to get the vaccine to where it’s needed using existing transportation (free).
  • There are many more unfairnesses in this country and beyond. but listing them isn’t going to change the world, but we can.

It is not unfair that you sat in my pew in church, or stepped on my toe in a queue, or served another person when I was clearly next, or laughed at me tripping, or any number of other things that we, as people with roofs over our heads and food in our healthy bodies consider unfair.

 

So unfairness is rife in the world, suffering is present in the world, but if our reply is to have a tantrum at God, blame him for human-made suffering then we are focussing our anger in the wrong place. We can stomp up and down all we like but it is human- made suffering so we as humans need to make changes.

In a small way we can do this individually; forgiving debt not just financially but in every way. Part of the Lord’s prayer talks about us forgiving others because we have been forgiven. Do we practice this? We have to if we are to keep our hearts soft, bitterness free. We can live in personal jubilee. Yes, get angry at the important things, but not if someone sits in your chair or forgets to ring or misses your wave in the car. As soon as the tantrum begins to rise ask for forgiveness first then forgive the person initiating the tantrum

And why don’t I tantrum anymore, well firstly because I communicate mostly in writing and there is something permanent in writing. Last year sometime someone was playing me and I was doing the seven times seventy thing and getting nowhere. One email was sent to me that pushed all the right buttons and I answered in frustration, a simple sentence or two but enough to give this unhealthy person enough ammunition to keep the bitterness going forever. At that point I decided that everything I spoke or wrote would be seasoned, well seasoned and any bitter thought I had would be dealt with in prayer. The other thing is as a result of this and other glorious stuff that happened last year I can truly say I am living in that personal jubilee, I am free and because of the freedom given freely by the Lord all I can do is glorify his name in each action I do. I am His.

Friends, Countryfolk & Love

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” 1 John 4:20-21 NIV

A wise person told me the only rules they saw in the New Testament were to love and to go. Not only are we to love our brothers, sisters, neighbours and friends but also our enemies. People can only see this love when we show it so it’s no good hiding like a hermit in a cave. We must get out and be in the world without being compromised by the world.

I live in a very small community, every knows of everyone and relatives are interweaved through the townlands. I’m a blow-in but I feel accepted, I have a friend, also a blow-in who didn’t fit in as well. She kept her nationality on her sleeve and made no effort to join the community, she left after a few years because it didn’t feel like home. So when I say keep uncompromised, I don’t mean keep to yourself. I joined the local football team, went running with a few young ones and generally had an active existence.

The other thing that got me chatting with people was I could fix computers. There was always someone wanting my patience with their machines and while I made their little darling PC’s speak to me they would glean information out of me.

My neighbours were fascinated by my children, and as a result wanted to know about them. When my eldest won some running trophy they sent cards, they were delighted for him and now consider him to be an inspiration. He quietly goes about his business, showing kindness to everyone, always willing to help and he has a love for Jesus too.

It came as no surprise to my community when I came out, they knew I was different and so me suddenly saying well actually I’m a Christian was not shocking, more like confirmation for them. One or two of them have asked more questions about it, a few think I’m in some weird sect, most have just carried on, asking for computer help in exchange for a cup of tea.

I think this is what we are supposed to do, isn’t it, show love in the way we are with people, not select people, but all people. I was in fellowship with a sister-in-Christ locally, we were discussing gossip and how to deal with it, admitting I heard gossip but didn’t pass it on. My sister admonished me correctly, explaining that I should as soon as someone says “Just between you and me” I should say “actually if you are going to share something about someone else I’d rather not hear it” She is so right, my head should be full of important things not tittle tattle. Not sure how I’ll go about it, but I will try to find a way of softening the sentence.

Joyful Preaching
Joyful, joyful, I am so joyful today. The world is spinning on it’s axis as always, the sun came up and went down as usual and the stars and moon came out, all as it did yesterday, the day before that etc to the beginning of time, to the beginning of the creation.

Why so joyful today, because I am reminded of what Jesus did and is doing and will do. I listened to a beautiful sermon today that came straight from the heart of a true evangelist. He filled us with the astonishing things God has done, as the Father, as the Son and as the Spirit. It was a true honour to be in the presence of this instrument of God’s love. What a privilege! What an experience!

There was a time in my church life when I would go on a Sunday to be seeped in God’s word and then it would dissipate over the week until bible study on Wednesday and then that would get me to Sunday. If I was still in that place, a sermon like this would possibly get me to the next week.

I am not in that place anymore, I spend time with God every day, not just in study but in fellowship and love. I don’t have to go to church on a Sunday to be with God, he lives inside me and I live in him, I go to church on a Sunday to worship him, to publically proclaim his glory, to share in corporate worship of our Lord, as the Jews in the Old Testament travelled to the Temple so I travel to chapel.

Do I prepare to meet him? The rituals of old are gone, but do we take time to be still and be in the presence? Do I take time to prepare? When a was a wee new Christian, I came to church early, prayed and read a psalm or two depending on how late the service started. Today someone wanted to talk to me before the service and I had no time, I was preparing the smooth running for the preacher, checking that all the praise team knew when to start, when to get up and sit down – the practicalities of stuff. I don’t get time to be still and because this struck me as important, I left the mike went down on my knees and prayed whilst he last song was being checked.

How, in the future I am going to find time to be still with my God before the service, I’m not sure, will have to think about it because I am essentially a Mary and a reluctant Martha.

Airbrushing out the bad bits
When I look back, when any of us look back on our lives, we see things that we aren’t proud of. Depending on what kind of life you’ve had, depends to what extent this shame extends and is also dependant on where you are today.

When we come to know Jesus our sins are forgiven, our past is forgiven, we become a new creation no longer subject to sin. Those sins are not just forgiven but forgotten, which means we don’t have to look back, we live in each day knowing that the Lord resides within our heart. The slate is wiped clean.

There are theological arguments, complicated law filled discussion on what happens next. Can we sin again and again the same sins but ask for forgiveness and it is all forgotten again? If we are not sinning as before why do we call ourselves unworthy and sinners? At that moment of being saved is our place marked in heaven regardless of what we then do i.e. sin more with or without forgiveness? Are the places in heaven preordained so it doesn’t matter if we sin or don’t because we might or might not have a ticket for the bus?

I have read all these arguments and lived as a new creation for a while and without asking for spiritual guidance from earth people this is what I think. We can’t earn our way to heaven,

not by works, so that no one can boast.  Eph 2:9

so the reasons for doing “good works” as opposed to not good works is to glorify God’s name, to proclaim the good news not just by words but by our actions. People, non believers and lapsed believers have to see in us a difference, a difference that is palpable, a difference that they want to have themselves, so we need to lose the legalise that stifle our churches. I went to a bible study a few years back in my local church one morning and rather than being welcomed I was made feel like I had stepped into an elite club. I was reminded of this last week.

When I asked for my sins, named one by one to be forgiven, I left those sins behind, I would never again visit with them, or invite them into my home. I quickly discovered that the devil found new ones for me to try, I resisted most of them but gave in to a couple which I then stopped and asked forgiveness for. The devil keeps coming up with new ones and bringing the old ones to my front door and each day it is a struggle to keep right, a joyful struggle, but a struggle to keep from them, to stay in relationship with my God.

My place in heaven, well to begin with, I thought that I was happy (joyful) living each day and then when the Day of Judgement arrives I will see if I get through the narrow gate. I have since understood that because I am God’s new creation I am assured of eternal life.

With the assurance though, can’t I do the sin thing. No, not because of a whole pile of legalese but because I don’t want to. Your house would you vandalise it? Would you vandalise the house of your favourite relative. The answer is no, likewise, with the Lord resident in our hearts we won’t vandalise that heart by sinning, by hardening that heart, our heart, my heart.

So I live each day by trying to not sin, failing but I learn from each failure. Today I had a moment of shame from my past, a particularly odd sin for someone like me but one that burns deep with shame. I would truly like to “destalinise” that part of my life, pretend like it never was part of my life.

 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galations 5

What I have discovered is that I can’t airbrush the past, but it doesn’t matter, in fact the opposite, the past I had made the new creation even more spectacularly amazing and life changing and I discovered that the fruits of the Spirit are given freely so that it is not a struggle to have these attributes, it is easy to be gentle, faithful, be full of joy, peace and love, to show forebearance, kindness and goodness. So those “good works” they aren’t a chore they are just something further that can praise God, worship God and glorify his name, he whose name is love, grace and mercy.

 

Treat Time

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 NIV

Treat people as you would want to be treated, is a perfect idiom for healthy people. When I say healthy, I mean healthy emotionally and spiritually. To further illustrate: those people who can face themselves in the mirror and say I love you, you are equal to anyone else on this earth, and can form equally healthy relationships with other humans regardless of the idiosyncrasies of people. A person whose heart is so soft in the Lord that a chip of bitterness would find no home there. Those people can see this scripture and go “Yes, I will love everyone the same way I love myself, I will treat them as I treat myself.

But what of the unhealthy, if you can’t even look in the mirror, because you hate yourself so much, that the very idea that you have a right to be on this planet as everyone else. Would you want to be treated the same as that person. I spent years helping other people out of difficulties, helped them out of depression, helped them overcome phobias, helped them leave abusive spouses, helped in times of trauma, delving through reams of bureaucratic red tape to get a person’s child seen by the medical profession, filled out countless forms, wrote endless letters. I helped. I treated them as worthy of getting help, I treated them as worthy of me doing my utmost to make their lives easier, happier, removing barriers so they could live a full life. Fair enough I was treating people with kindness, but the other side of the coin, me.

I felt I was worthy of death, dead death, not dying here and going on to eternal life. If someone was kind to me, I recoiled, how could they be nice to me, fools. I never looked at myself in the mirror unless I wanted to verbally be angry at myself, so I brushed my hair away from mirrors, I did not take care. I was thrown together and then got to the front door. Considering the lack of effort I put in to getting ready to go out in the world it was remarkably difficult to walk through the entrance of my house to the outside.

Of course that was then and this is now. A friend in the middle of the year took my on a break, just myself and themselves, they paid for the flights, they took me to the airport, they were lind, and it was a kindness of love not duty. The whole trip was wonderful, I remember it fondly, I remember the love of the people I met, I remember feeling blessed. I worked out I had never graciously accepted anything from a human before because of this “worthless” complex.

Because I accepted forgiveness for my named sins from God, I saw his grace and mercy freely given to me, I saw his love, a palpable force, freely given, Because of what he did to me, because of the changes he made in me, I was open to the love of others. I welcomed the love of others and I learned that now that I am as equal as anyone else. We are all charged to treat others as we would want to be treated. Regardless of the health of the other person, in that I mean, acts of kindness that are rebuffed, gifts returned, thoughtless throw away comments designed to hurt. These all have to be ignored. We must not get offended because someone else is less healthy than us.

I have been on the outskirts of a group of people for about six months. The group met in fellowship and started a project. The project failed, the fellowship disbanded, the majority of the group offended to differing levels. Only the healthy ones, although hurt, dusted themselves off and started again. The unhealthiness of the people bred an atmosphere that allowed the devil in, it warped the ideology, it festered an atmosphere of grumbling, of complaining, of walking away and of focussing on the bad in people rather than exalting the good.

I have learned a great deal by watching this group, I learned a lot about group dynamics, but I mostly learned a lot about me. A year ago I would’ve jumped in with both feet, enabling and helping and feeling responsible. Now I can sit back, watch things unfold and learn from them. Don’t get me wrong they weren’t lab rats in a cage, I prayed for the health of the group, I prayed with and for the individuals in the group and when it came to end I prayed for peace to settle on the people’s hearts.

Dear Lord, thank you for the insights you give me, thank you for helping me to know when to hold back and when to go full force for something. As I potentially embark on a new project in the next few weeks help an air of healthiness stay with us, stay with me. As this project begins it is the tentative first moves please help me bring together healthy people so only good is done. Help me not to offend, intentionally and unintentionally. There are still offended people around me that I have unintentionally offended help me let them see I don’t know how I have offended them  but I acknowledge the hurt and the offence. Lord help me make amends when appropriate without bringing myself back into unhealthiness, and Lord for those people who are just gagging to take offence, waiting for the ideal time to be hurt, soften their hearts Lord, help them pick out the bitter shards of the unhealthy tissue leaving only viable beautiful God given tissue. Lord the differences I make in other peoples’ lives with your help is nothing, absolutely nothing when compared to the difference you have made in my life. The new creation you made, Lord this new creation is down on her knees in absolute awe, praising and worshiping the God who made me: me. Lord I thank you, endless bottomless thanks. I am amazed in your presence, it really is infatiguably true – just one touch from the Lord changes everything. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen

Real Equality

I am equal before God with any other human on this planet. There was something said somewhere (how vague is that!) today about winning and being on the winning team.

Well this is team human, we are all in the same race and we can all win, at the same time, the competitive element, because we humans do like to compete, is to get everyone in the race. Galations 3:28 says we are all equal regardless of class, culture, gender or any other dividers. God loves us all equally. Equally we can all come to know Jesus, and we can all bask in the glow of that love.

From a sceptic to where I am now seemed like a long journey but the asking Jesus into my life and forgive me took me less time than it took to construct this sentence. My next goal is to meet an INTP so totally surrendered to the Lord that they can speak in tongues, or translate the tongues. I don’t think it is vital to my growth but it would be cool, if only once.

Some people assert that you aren’t fully committed if you can’t speak in tongues, I do not concur, not because I don’t/can’t/ haven’t tried but because I know strong mature fully living on the Lord Christians who do not speak in tongues either by choice or design. One person I know has such an important message for us to hear that it has to be said in the tongue tht is understood by most. Vital messages of love come from this person and they are equal with everyone else.

Prince Edward Island and Egypt

I have never been to Canada or Prince Edward Island, Avonlea or Green Gables. I can imagine them because of the writing of L.M. Montgomery. I have been to only one place mentioned in the bible and yet I can imagine the places and the peoples because of the rich tapestry of the writings in the bible.

I was reminded of this earlier this week at a fellowship meeting, the pastor was giving an overview of the Old Testament, which I had heard three years previously so I kept half an ear on his talk and the the other ear listened to the speeches I read as I flitted from one book to another.

God speaks to Moses, not once or twice but regularly, in Numbers he tells Moses how to arrange the camp and how to pack up the camp down to the coverings for each object in the Tent. He called for a census for each tribe and set aside the Levites as priests.

When I first read this a few months ago, I was momentarily jealous of Moses, he got to listen to God’s voice and talk to him. I apologised and worked on it. I got to the position that of course Moses got to talk to God, he was the leader chosen by God, he needed to be given guidance on how to proceed and needed someone to talk to because of the stuff the people were getting up to as soon as Moses wasn’t looking. He had a hard job of course he deserved to to converse with God.

While the talk about the Old Testament was going on I popped into Numbers to reread this time of organisation and planning. As my mind was wandering, imagining the planning that went into a move from camp to journey. All the skins, the rope, the packing. I know people with caravans and they spend a week getting organised for a weekend away, so imagining this massive camp uprooting and moving. Wow, what a job, what an amazing job.

And in  the middle of my imaginings and the pastor’s talk I got it. We get to talk to God, we get to listen to God, we are in relationship with God, and all we have to do is still our minds and hearts to hear him and we can talk to him anytime.

I loved getting this insight, with each insight received I feel blessed to have such a wonderful Father and Friend.

Dear Lord, thank you for insights given, thank you for letting me settle with the knowledge gained from Numbers for a while before reminding me of your very great presence in my life. Lord I can’t imagine life without you, guiding me in my studies and in my life, protecting me in my relationships, loving me regardless of what situations I find myself in, teaching me directly and through the learned people around me.

Lord I would like to lift up the person going in for op on Tuesday, please be with the hospital staff as they perform this difficult operation, be with the person as they then begin the treatment afterward. Lord please look after L as she cares for the poxed children, let her rest. Lord I thank you for my healing, for the new creation you made, help me show you in the world. Amen

Not Bound by Rubble

I was healed, might’ve mentioned it before, by the Spirit and became this new creation that I am now. The road I chose to follow, to follow Jesus, to surrender my entire life to him is not the easy option. My entire life has been transformed, transformed by that healing, I was not expecting it and it was scary going for it. I had almost been healed many times but backed off at the last minute, not willing to throw off my old life.

Since being in that moment of healing, since feeling that total inner peace that only comes from God my life has started going, quite obviously, in a different direction. How far I turn to that direction I’m not completely sure. Tuesday this week, I moved a fractional few degrees which I just discovered today was actually quite a significant shift. The way I was seeing a certain situation has not been skewed since May, but this week I got a glimmer of a different future. Now this is all new and it could take me another year or so to fully turn into this corner.

The parameters that I live my life are now God given and I submitted to his will and therefore his boundaries and I love that sometimes he hems me in, not letting me get forward, waiting and then the gate comes down and I’m free to explore the next bit. I think it was important for me to be left resting in this situation learning how to deal with it, and I have but now I’ve been given this glimmer of a different way.

Instead of bolting through the gate, I am cautiously stepping through, there are so many pebbles in this path, my immediate response is too hard! When I rest in the presence of the Lord I feel that strength that might not get the pebbles to move out of my way but help me find a route through them.

Dear Lord, thank you for this new concept, that the situation can be changed. I thank you for the person who will be sharing with me tomorrow, I thank you that you found this person and brought them into my life. The sharing might help me visualise this new concept more easily. Lord be with the person tomorrow before meeting me, strengthen them Lord, they feel it’s important for me to hear so I ask you also help me listen, really listen to what they are saying and how it will filter into my situation. Lord if you have already talked to this person and you are using them for me, thank you.

Lord again I lift up the person for the op on Tuesday, for my dear friend starting a new chapter in her life, for blessed people coming forward to the praise group for Zusanna and Edward, for Eric, for Anne, forPadraig, Lord thank you and for Emma offering more of herself, thank you. Amen

Sisters who pray together get through together

Lord thank you for the fellowship of sister in Christ who don’t need to know everything, that just being there quietly together is enough.

Lord thank you that although situations don’t change for us, our ability to be in them exponentially increases with you in our hearts. We are joyful Lord because of you.

Thank you Lord, and Lord I lift up the person going for the op tomorrow, bless this person Lord and be with the hospital personnel as they help this person. and Lord thank you for the changes in me. I am so blessed, feeling that blessing always. Amen

Sisters who pray together get through together part two

I keep coming back to fellowship, female fellowship. I don’t need that special relationship where the participants share endlessly about where their lives have gone wrong, returning time and time again to the point of pain. I lived in that world for so long and now it is not needed.

About a year ago I was lent a Joyce Meyer book, and I got loads out of it, it taught me how to properly come before the Lord with my list of sins and ask for forgiveness one by one. It taught me how to let go of each sin, it was akin to letting go of a bunch of helium filled balloons one by one. As each sin is brought before the Lord genuinely and honestly it is forgiven and forgotten. So we should move on.

There is a time for the Joyce Meyers of the world, for when you don’t know how to get rid of something, People around you can speak of the process but sometimes it takes an outsider to get through the hurting to explain the process in words that a hurt person can understand.

After though, it is the role of caring sisters-in-Christ to come together to encourage, build up and help each other through situations. New situations or for some women the situation hasn’t changed only their way of dealing with it has changed. So in any group of women the healthy healed sisters must outweigh the still hurting. The norm of the group should be one of inclusion, fostering a culture of confidentiality, keeping biblical and keeping it within the group.

Lord, thank You for placing strong, mature Christian women in my path to walk awhile with me, thank You for these women, strong in faith, mature in bible knowledge and loving You. They have taught me so much. Thank you also for placing hurt women in my path. those that want to be helped, those who need to be helped and those who are too hurt to be helped for now. Lord if it is your will that I continue trying to reach out, then I will continue. Lord thank you for the lovely fellowship today, it was special.

Lord I lift up L to you, he is recovering so much, still a long way to go. Thank you for the healing thus far.

Amen

Avoidance

Why am I avoiding the thinking of or the writing of ?

Tick tock clock is ticking.

Reminiscing about drunken days and drunkener nights

Clock is ticking                         louder now

making agenda for a  Sunday week meeting

avoiding

create a picture

write a poem

no nearer to David or Mark

avoidance

Is that what it is?

Given a choice and choosing the harder one.

Mark trips off the tongue and

David is just a bit less palatable.

Tick tock

Head in hands trying to whirr mind

but no only the clock ticks

ever louder        ever louder

 

When You Go Through the Forest

Sometimes I find I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. Or I think I have, I have myself out there, and I wait for my head to be bitten off. I have had a yo-yo day of feeling like this and then feelings of no “you can do this”

I had two thought processes going on simultaneously, completely seperate thoughts that were going off in all directions whildt I was trying to accomplish something else. I felt ragged, split three ways, and and top of that, allowing myself be distracted by anything, everything.

I was supposed to be writing a sermon, I had been trying to get my tush sat down since Friday to write it, the background work was done, the exegesis was acceptable, the drawing out of the points were acceptable. I just had to piece it together in a coherent passage that was interesting, direct and relatively short. I argued over each word, each sentence, each stanza, each paragraph. I took out entire pages and rewrote them, I moved sentences endlessly and then deleted them only to rewrite them back in from memory. The examples I was using were too dry, then too emotional.

The rhythm did not slip off the tongue, when I said a sentence out loud I tripped up over most of the words, it wasn’t me. I don’t know who it was, or who I was aiming it to be but it wasn’t me.  I discarded the whole lot went back to the beginning and did the whole service instead of just the sermon, it took me the bare bones of two hours to complete, considering the previous diatribe had taken six hours, I felt satisfied and relieved.

Now it is complete the collywobbles start, will it be acceptable, have I put a verb onto Jesus that doesn’t belong. Have I used the right terminology, is it interesting, will it be heard. Ohh there’s an awful lot of praying to be done before it is delivered. When you go through the forest, in the dark, damp, springy carpet with the smell of pine trees all around, the scattering of little animals getting out of your way, the sound of birds nesting, chattering to their neighbours, in the forest it is the small little branches that pull you to your knees and it is a simple piece of editing that brought me to my knees today.

Lord, I thank you that you listened to me today, I only want to present your message in an acceptable fashion, I only want to tease the meaning out of your word into an acceptable form that is inclusive, and I cannot do this alone, I have spent the day wrapped in your love, you are ever patient with me, more patient than I am to myself, you gave me your love today so I could write about it and I thank you for that. I thank you that when there are loads of people in dire straits and you are with them, you can be with me and my petty insecurities. Lord I thank you for all that, I thank you for the continued strength you provide me with and I ask you as I save and close this document that is your message, that you will continue help me prepare for my first sermon proper.

I ask this in your holy beautiful name

Amen

More than Thanks

Psalm 59:16

But as for me, I will sing about your power.

Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love.

For you have been my refuge,

a place of safety when I am in distress.

Dear Lord

thank you for creating in me a new person, thank you for all the changes that have happened as a result of the magnicicent healing that you performed for me. I am amazed by your grace, mercy and love and am and will be forever thank full. My insides are bigger than my outsides and it is all for your glory. I cannot comprehend that old life anymore, I thank you for your timeliness, I thank you for everything.

Amen

We say thanks so quickly, so easily, it slips off the tongue like cream into coffee. It is an accepted word, people use it with a smile, in sarcasm with gritted teeth, we mouth it when someone helps us behind the scenes, we say it loud and clear when we want everyone to hear us, a bit like the Pharisee who goes up to the Temple to pray.

In my prayers it is the first thing out of my lips, Thank You Lord and then….. it can be seconds, minutes, hours before I complete that sentence because in my mind I am ruminating what I am thank full for. When I am in this rumination I continue to function so I could be feeding the animals and being in this state of thank full ness.

So recently I have been experimenting with starting my prayer out loud as the very first thing I do when I am awake in the morning and then concluding last thing at night, the very last thing that I speak in the day …. for everything.

In between I stay thank full, full of thanks and it is AMAZING how you go about your daily life when you are first and foremost in prayer. For example one person was saying I was gentle and instead of saying “oh don’t be so daft I am as rough as sandpaper” which would be my innate response, I listened to her and heard her and thanked her, really thanked her, I didn’t defer or demur I just said “thanks”, in my head I was continuing my prayer, “thank you lord for the fruits of the Spirit that can now be seen in me, thank you for making me gentle.” Another person said they were enjoying reading this blog or another blog I am writing at and I said “thanks”, inside I was saying “this is for you Lord, all glory to you, I cannot write, I cannot produce art in any form without you there with me, thank you for being with me all day.”

With another sister I shared and she shared, we shared together, the Lord’s hand was seen in that conversation, even though I swore and immediately had to ask for mercy, the swearing was appropriate for that moment, we needed to be in that base centre, for us to be lifted out of our temporary pit.

And now I am writing, a list of writing to be done, a sermon that needs revision, a poem of praise (song) needs to be written on first draft, it is being edited in my head as I write this and there needs to be a piece written around the scripture that is less me and more us and you. All this will be done whilst in prayer, and I love living my daily life in prayer, it keeps me close to my Lord.

Living in personal Jubilee, the freedom to live in Christ and He in me, glorifying God not just in my daily life but in every action, thought, speech and physical action all day everyday, in personal deep relationship with the Lord all day every day. That is what I was looking for and that is what I have found:

And it is amazing and astonishing,

each day brings new insights, new ways of developing this journey further and deeper. Oh God I love you.

Dear Lord thank you for everything, Amen

BodyWatch

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body,” 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20

 

The tension we feel just before being healed is extreme. The comfort of the known is cosy, like a duck down pillow. Because we are about to be healed in a very dramatic wonderful way but we don’t know that as a fact, we have have to turn from, run from, leap into the faith that is needed but we are ill equipped to do this.

So often it is at this point we don’t turn, we run back to the old self because it is like an old pullover, we know it.

When I was healed I was unable to do by it by myself, I was unable to accept the healing grace of the Lord without him. He meets us at our point of pain, whatever that is, he cradles us in that pain until, in his timelessness he chooses to heal us. It is his decision to heal, but it is our decision to accept that healing. He not only had to heal me but also help me stand up to accept it, he had to prod me to accept.

The other side, the healed person, the new creation, wow that takes some getting used to. Being Christian can seem like a long list of rules, but in the making of a new creation the rules fall away, there are no rules.

The life that is lived to the glory of God, smashes the Pharisees rules. Good works – pah. All the things that you were doing because you thought that was the right thing to do gone.

Instead of rules, the new creation lives in a state that looks like a set of rules but instead of duty, there is love. Offering help in whatever form just comes naturally, talking about the Lord comes naturally, being prayer full, grate full, worship full and praise full, it is just a part of you, a part of me.

Becoming a new creation is scary from the outside but on the other side it is mindblowingly wonderful, that other life – pah.

Broken

“For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” Psalm 33:4-5 NIV

Equality, if there was one word I wanted to share with people it is equality, equality in our unworthiness, equality in the love of God.

This love is beautiful and wonderful and life changing and is free. Totally and utterly free for everyone. All we have to do is ask. In Mark 2 Jesus calls a paralysed man “son”. This brings the person into relationship with God before the next part of the sentence, he is offering adoption before the sins are forgiven. He is saying we are all God’s children and are loved even in our broken state, even in our sinful state he loves us.

maturity

Tricky one today, a sibling-in Christ sent me an email that they’d received from a mutual acquaintance. It was one of those mailshots designed in the chain letter mode, daring you to pass it on to a number of friends. The title started “be proud” so I was a little confused because we are asked not to boast or be prideful in anything other than Christ.

The full title “be proud to be white” and then something else in brackets. My initial reaction was one of hurt, what in me would this person think that I would happily receive such a letter. I read it, well that’s not true I skimmed it until I could stomach it no more. It was ugly, bordering on white supremacy, it did literally turn my stomach.

My problem then was what to do. To not answer it would suggest an acquiesence or an agreement in part. To answer it could open up a whole can of worms to which I would yet again be responsible for openning. Having spent almost a year walking on eggshells around siblings-in-Christ was this topic worthy of getting my head chopped off again

To be honest I spent less than 30 seconds on this to-ing and fro-ing in my head, my heart knew I had to reply, I had to make my case, and back it up biblically and added to that let the person know that I was sending it in love. This was my reply:

Please don’t send “white” stuff to me, I not only don’t get it, I get upset that people think I  might     get it. It’s not me, it’ll never be me, everyone on the planet is equal, equality in sin             and         equality in     love, if we make distinctions, if we add codicils to the contract we have             with God then we are not     getting that, surely.

There are some sweeping statements in this missive, and some touching on white             supremacy, it is     not written by a humble person, it is not written by someone with a             softened heart – or it would     never have been written.

I understand that there is a freedom in us, that allows us to have our own opinions, coloured             by     our own experiences in life, but they have to be held up in relation  Jesus’ life, ministry             and     example and if not aligned then it something we have to work on in ourselves.

Sent in friendship and fellowship,

I pored over the wording of it, I wanted them to know my stance but I didn’t in turn want them to be offended by my wording. Eventually I sent it and then I suppose I sat back, contented that I had done the right thing for me – this is not the first time racist stuff has been said or sent to me but the first time I have acted upon it.

I got a reply, not only me but everyone else it was sent to, in it the person expressed in a mature and graceful way that they too advocated equality. So a win-win situation.

It is true, whenever something doesn’t ring true we should turn to Jesus’ example – what did he do? and what would he do today?

I learned something today about grace, mercy and love and I learned a little more about the maturity in some Christians, willing to backdown, willing to fight, willing to do whatever God wants us to.

gremlinvalentine

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Luke 6:35 (NIV)

I have a thing about beards, I cannot stand them, more than that, they scare me. They have always scared me and I don’t go anywhere near beards. Individuals I know have beards and that’s okay, it takes me longer to be open with them, it takes more time to hear what they are really saying. To begin with there is an assumption that they are lying, so they can be the most sincere person in the world but my first thought is, “What’s their angle?” or “Why are they saying that?”

I don’t need to go into details from my past for you to make certain assumptions about the beard thing. Enough for me to tell you, that yes you are on the right track, someone a long time ago had a beard, lied to me and other stuff. Long enough ago for the dislike of beards to be indelibly written on my being.

There’s a guy in my church, so full of the Lord, so sincere, so full of God’s love that regardless of the beard thing I accept the hug and kiss from him each week without the usual shudder. I embrace the hug because it is being done in love, in God’s love and that’s okay.

My husband arrived back from a trip with a beard, today, St Valentine’s Day and I ducked out of a kiss, giggling, “You’re all hairy!”

He replied “Get used to it.”

That was actually the first words we spoke to each other after he had been away. I thought to myself in the ensuing silence, mmm, so that’s where we are. In the car I didn’t turn the music down and started joining in with Gill and Godfrey Birtill glorifying God. I didn’t back down and neither did he. At home the usual criticisms were levelled at me and I cheerfully deflected them. I made lunch, some of Joan’s houmous that she brought yesterday. I forced chat out whilst I busied myself in the kitchen.

My inside person had a tennis racket and each criticism was smashed back, my backhand was sublime, I was thinking Navratilova versus Borg. And the beard, the hairy beard thing was like an itchy rash that kissed my neck, brushed my cheek. Each movement was sending shivers down my spine. The anticipation, if you could call it that, of the inevitable afternoon delight was filling me with dread. How long could I put it off for? How quick could I get it over with. I was making mountains out of molehills. The mountains got bigger and bigger as the day progressed.

The moment came and went, I won’t go into details, not because I am especially a prude but it was horrible. The beard, twitched and bristled on my skin, I was eight years old all over again. I had a shower afterward and cried, then put soap in my eyes to cover the crying.

An hour later he popped into the study and kisses me on the cheek with bare skin, no beard. Up to that point I was taking responsibility for how I was feeling but in that one kiss, I thought “You ba****d.”

He knows, he knows I hate beards, and why I hate beards. He played a particularly nasty mind game on me today and I am supposed to just take it. I will, I will take my measure of this nastiness and I will seive it through God’s love and it will become beautiful because the devil can get anywhere you allow him. I will not allow him in my heart, I will not allow bitterness root in there, I will not allow my softened heart become hardened. God has asked me to remain in this marriage and I will, cheerfully, cheerfully deflecting the criticism, cheerfully deflecting the control and squashing the nastiness with love. Happy Valentine’s Day to my husband with love.

Do you Deliver?

When I say I have no problem in writing a sermon, I don’t mean pish pash sermon written. I mean I can clearly hear the voice speaking the sermon in my head. I can work out syntaxes and emphasising pointers, this is easy. The words rolling together like marbles down a hill, I have no problem with that either. My issues in the writing are: Is what I am saying from scripture? Am I being heretical? Is there too much emphasis on background, culture and original meaning and not enough application? Is there too much application? Have I used enough cross referencing scriptures? and many more questions rove around my head as the sentences form.

My major problem is in the delivery, I am not a public speaker, I would prefer to sit in the background and listen to someone else. I stood in front of a mirror yesterday in an attempt to practice my sermon for Sunday, I couldn’t do it – it was just me and yet I fluffed everything. If this paltry attempt is anything to go by it will be a dire day on Sunday and I will not be asked to preach again.

So how do I transform into a deliverer of the message. Only with the strength of the Lord inside me on Sunday morning. I will be nervous, I am already nervous, but I will do it and I pray that the Lord will help me deliver it with the correct amount of intonation and gestures.

Dear Lord, thank You for bestowing me with the gift to write, I “get” that you want me to use this gift and I know long term there is a long piece of writing you wish me to write. In the meantime the short term goal to glorify your name are these little pieces both here and at posterous, the journey and the application, I hope they are pleasing to you. You have changed my life so much it has been transformed, help me transform the written word into the spoken word on Sunday, help me share your message Lord, help the people hear what you want them to hear. Thank You Lord, I will try my hardest to do this for you and your glory. Amen

the struggle

So here I am living in the joy of the Lord, joyously praising and worshiping, sincerely praying, sharing the good news and everything I am is for his service. That is the truth, the honest, pared back real truth. Of course there is more, and in the more does that mean that my honest pared back truth is not real?

I struggle with the tension of this, I truly love the Lord.

Dear Lord, in my struggle I turn to You, in my life You are at my very core, living in me. I call on Your strength to help me in my current situation. I need to work on one particular aspect that is hampering my walk with You. Help me Lord as I confront this, keep me safe as I delve deeper. Lord everything I am and everything I do, say and think is for Your glory. Help me as I cast off this thing that is holding me in stasis.

All praise to You Lord, the Great Creator, all worship to You, for You are Great, all glory to You oh Lord,

Amen

 

I live on a mountain, the silence and darkness are home. Tonight though I lie on a sofa. 12 floors above a city, orange glow and traffic. How do people in cities sleep?

At home around this time the calves come, the cows make a wee noise during the birth. In a few weeks or months time the calves will be taken away from the cows, that is a noisy few nights. The mammy cows cry constantly all day and all night because their offspring has been taken from them. Imagine rearing a child for a couple of years and then having it yanked from your arms to be sold to someone else.

The traffic noise makes me think of the mammy cows, the dull roar, squealing brakes, the odd siren. Behind me a clock ticks, another reminder that I am not sleeping.

I long for my pink bed, shiny pink pillows, my wacky Ikea curtains, my totally self contained pink room. I miss my paintbrushes, my pencils and oh I miss my children and my husband.

There is a different reality here, cleanliness is an issue. The great thing about living in an old house is the cobwebs and dust are almost obligatory, who lives in a “clean house” like this!

Mothers Day

We had a family gathering today, it is not something I am keen on, but sometimes due to illness or death the clan comes together. The family in question is my mother and my siblings, one male, one female. I am always at some point in the day cast as the baddie, the one who argues, the one who causes “an atmosphere”, the one that sticks out like a sore thumb. I have defence mechanisms for such occasions, I speak only when spoken to and keep my answers to a minimum of words. The least said, the less chance of being the one in the wrong.

I am forty six years old, the youngest of three and when we get together I feel ten and the cuckoo in the nest. Our starters hadn’t arrived today when I was told to “Stop it” through gritted vicious teeth. Today though I stuck up for myself and felt better for it, “Did you really just tell me to stop it, seriously” That wasn’t the start though, when my siblings arrived I was mid-tweet, so on bringing them up to the apartment I returned to finish it. “Put that away” I did as I was told and closed the laptop, both siblings got their phones out within seconds and ebayed, facebooked, tweeted or looked at their reflection, no comment. I sat quietly, the two siblings picked up magazines and began to read. I went out for a cigarette. The wrong thing to do, why do I always do the wrong thing. It is wrong for me to have my laptop open, it is wrong for me to leave when there is no conversation.

Of course things could only go downhill from there. When it was suggested that my husband wasn’t that tall, I replied, “No, he’s shorter than me, so not tall,” for some reason the conversation continued about his height culminating in me having to say “He’s taller than me, the same height, he can be whatever height you want”

I ate my starter slowly, not for any particular reason, it was a very nice tomato and basil salad and I was enjoying it. “Was I finished? Was I leaving it for my main course?” No I was just taking my time. I watched my siblings, my sister was being sarcastic and ironic, everything a joke, but with a nasty bitter aftertaste. My brother was silent unless spoken to, as was I. How did I get the flak? How did I manage to get cast as the baddie again? It all goes pear-shaped, and it is my fault.

Let’s blame me, we’ll wash over the sarcastic comment followed by three sets of laughter aimed at my faith, we’ll gloss over the pointed remarks about my not working, we will even forget that no one bothered to thank me for bailing them out this last week. What we are left with are barbed comments, my defence and that yet again, I am the worst daughter in the history of the world.

Dear Lord, thank you for accepting me into your family, in the crook of your arm I can rest, not for a few seconds respite but for all eternity. Thank you Lord that for the past week I have looked after my mother with the loving care needed. Lord when things go pear-shaped and there is no one to turn to for support, you are there, when the world is full of support, you are there. Lord you are amazing, thank you for the changes you have made in my life. Thank you that I can shed off the mantle of being the worst daughter, that for you I am equal with everyone else, we are all your precious children. We are loved. I am loved and I love you. Thank you Lord, amen

therapising

The attic that is my head got cleaned out, decluttered and reorganised last year. I am eternally grateful for all the healing I received. I knew there were corners left over but was loving the feeling of healing so much ignored them for a while.

It is now time to get into the corners and clear them out, this is going to be painful but I am ready.

Dear Lord, thank you for the beautiful healing, for the new creation you have created in me. I love the joy of living in You and You living in me. I thank You for this. I am ready to overcome the phobias that are disabling me from living the life You truly want me to live. I am ready to believe You can change this debilitating condition, and I am ready to face whatever needs to be faced. Lord I know that if it is Your will, all things are possible not just in an abstract theoretical way but in a very practical way. With Your strength Lord I can do this with You. Thank you for your mercy, for your grace and for your everlasting love. Amen

blessings

It was suggested to me to write a list of 10 blessings, my list got longer and longer and I came to the realisation that I live a very blessed life. I went way past ten, at last count it was in the high seventies. I decided to categorise them and discovered that most of my blessings were in the category of family and basic needs.

One that stuck out, that I couldn’t categorise with anything else was broccoli. I had no other vegetables on my list, I didn’t have any other food items. I couldn’t put it with my family because they don’t like it, I couldn’t put it with my vegetable growing because I don’t grow it, so does that make it number one on my list of blessings?

What is so great about brocolli? On those many days in the last year when I couldn’t face eating anything else, I would sit down to a bowl of brocolli. Sometimes with added ingredients but mostly a large bowl of brocolli. I don’t think I particularly like it, it was necessary to eat and the only thing that didn’t turn my stomach.

Is it my number one blessing, not at all, it is just an important part of my life at the moment and filled my stomach when nothing else could.

10 Blessings (loving the Lord is too big to be called a blessing, it is my life)

1 Ross

2 Sean

3 Aaron

4 Lara

5 Thunder

6 roof

7 running cold water

8 bed

9 vegetable growing

10 brocolli

 

Dear Lord thank you for the blessings in my life, they are many, thank you for the changes you have made in my life. You are the only one I praise and worship. You are everything, thank you Lord. Amen

starting out

The first day….

A weird place to start when I was in turmoil from last evening and trying to focus on the reason for being there when in a maelstrom was difficult. I was I suppose unfocussed and with this found it difficult to articulate.

Having said that, I think I got across why I was there, and got a lot out of it. Most of all I heard that the pigeon hole I had put myself in was not the correct one and that there are many facets to that hole to which I don’t tick the box for. This is good, really good. Now forward to finding the root of being over responsible and taking the blame.

Dear Lord, thank you for today, there were many layers and many miles to the day. From first light, ignoring phone chimes, to scratching the surface (may the root be found), to encouraging emails, to advocating, to cooking, to confronting, to Your word, to fellowship, to singing, to praying. Thank you for all these activities, thank you for the time spent alone with you, thank you for compassion given, thank you for the changes you have made in me and continue to make in me. Lord I only want to glorify your name, I only want to lift your name on high, I want to sing your praises. And Lord I don’t need to be on stage to sing your praises, the back of the room is good too, but wherever you place me I will go, whole heartedly, I am yours, no longer self reliant, but your servant. Eternally grateful for forgiveness, for your grace and mercy and for your wonderous love.

Amen

day 11

Interestingly, I decided to mark each weeks passing because it seemed at the time important to note changes. Since making that decision I managed one post on the specific day but what I have noticed is it didn’t matter because the changes and insights are happening daily or more than daily.

I think of Karen D. and her multiple days of therapy and wonder if that is what I am doing without the formalised setting of a therapy room with a therapist/counsellor. If that is what is happening it is not down to me. I find distancing myself from situations so difficult that it can’t be me.

This is great news for me because it means my Lord is with me through this. He did so much last year in my healing and I was so filled by him, that I just enjoyed it and am still enjoying it and will continue to do so. This section of my journey is treacherous, the gazillion layers that were bared last year have merely left an unknown number of layers left to deal with.

There are times, even now on day 11, when I want to give up, when it is too hard to face, and I have barely touched the first layer. Then there are times when insight is given and I can clearly see my place in a particular situation, so much so that small decisions have already been made. I wish I could have a balance ruler next to me all the time so when I am asked to do something I can measure it and see where it is on the ruler – how much of myself can be given against how much of myself needs to be given for any situation.

Saying yes, immediately, before thinking through the implications of that ‘yes’ has caused ructions in my home. I was asked to do something today that I said yes to and now have to work out how I can back out of it because the men in my life have said no. This happens frequently, and I don’t know whether it is my compulsion to say yes or there automatic Pavlov response is at fault and perhaps it is somewhere along the line between yes and no. Either way I feel terrible because I am letting someone down whilst maintaining familial contentment or having familial discontent and not letting someone down. Sometimes you can only pray!

messy people

We are a messy bunch of people. We make mistakes, learn from them – move on. Don’t we?

WTF

No we don’t. I have just repeated messinesses that I last did: 1 year ago, 2 years ago, twenty years ago, five years ago. The only difference – I did them all at the same time.

There’s a mixture growing inside, some shame, some guilt, some other stuff, churning with positive things.

So question to self – How do I continue on the journey I chose in 2007 when I am not clean and not sorry. If I am at a crossroads, or a fork in the road, how can I continue on present path, unrepentant.

WTF, I repeat, I repeat, I repeat. There is no clear cut answer for me, there should be, I should be down on my knees, I should, I should, I should.

But I am not.

I am a messy person, unacceptable at the moment, trying desperately to make myself want to be acceptable.

hidden thatch

I watched men remove corrugated sheeting on an old house today. Beneath it lay rotting thatch, I’m sure I saw it move. I got in size ten jeans last week (well size 8; was stateside) and ever since instead of feeling the sense of accomplishment at getting to my ideal weight. I am feeling that size ten now means nothing and I should aim for size eight. So my weight tht I have lost, the size 20, 18,16,14 and 12 that I have passed through in the last year are like the corrugated sheeting, when it is all removed what left is rotten. For more than a lot of years I have lived with truths but like the sheeting when they are removed what is left is rotten. I am rotten. If the inside of a person is rotten like an apple, worms and grubs and maggots eating away at the flesh. at the spirit, at the mind, at the soul. A thousand “what if’s” fill my head, plans, unplans, uploads, downloads.

judgesuzie

That would make a good television programme wouldn’t it. Judge Suzie. It is too much like Judge Judy, I suspect. Plus the whole premise for mine would be to judge me not to judge.

I was at bible study this morning, well kind of. I was mid lyric so was trying to get that down and was listening to the leader talk about mission and outreach, sin and faith.

He then went onto talk specifically about outreach and testimony, memory verses and approach.

and he said

“You know these people are gonna confess to you and you can’t judge them.”

“some pretty gnarly (could’ve been nasty) sin”

as if their sin was bigger than ours.

bigger than mine.

this being my journal I should be able to list my past sins

I can’t.

Not one human knows them all except me

One being outside of me knows and that’s God

I’m forgiven

and yet when I hear

“we can’t judge them”

I am the them

“I am the blackman” by Hazel O’Connor sums up this judging/ admission of sin

SO

how do I the deviant, the dirty, breaker of the ten commandments

HOW DO I

put myself in a position of being judged by humans.

I can’t do it, I can write about it, I can make it other people’s stories, gossamer veiled autobiographical tales.

It was only last month that I messed up.

It was only

up is the only way

strength that is not mine

I am not knocked by all this

I know all this

I not stunned, shocked, surprised

except by the person that said it

 

Dear Lord

Thank you do much for making me a new creation. thank you for the ministry you have given to me, I am loving it and it is wonderful and joyous and at the same time painful, raw and real. These are real issues, people with real problems, with no earthly solutions. Lord you are my everlasting Saviour and as you saved me with your grace and mercy and love so I will give my testimony out there in the dirty painful places.

I guess, Lord, I was just reminded of the happy-clappy-nicey-picey place you plonked me in 2007 and how I just love reality, real people, not hiding behind their net curtained pews.

Lord I love you and I will do anything for your glory, I am yours, a bondservant, forever in your debt, forever grateful, forever unworthy BUT forever in your family, forever yours. Amen

massive moves

This is like the two cities or a football match; a blog of two halves:

I had temptation bite me on the butt this week.

“Go on Suzie, one little look/see won’t be a big thing.”

“sure everyone is doing it”

“you have been asked to do this, you have to do it”

          “sure go on, one little…..”

when you have been addicted to something you just have to say no. When that addiction is something secret it becomes harder because no one knows, so they ask awkward questions –

“Why can’t you?”

“Go on Suze, don’t be so peevish/prudish/selfish”

I have a friend with a gambling habit, I can’t say addiction because he doesn’t see it in that way, but he habitually gambles. A few years ago he gave up smoking and maybe a year later I started.

At first I kept it secret, or avoided telling anyone, after all I was a church going woman and I had heard Christians don’t smoke. We got pushed together on a project and made friends. Every time I lit up (always outside) he made some comment about people rubbing their addiction in his face and lots of other sentences. He talked a lot about his gambling, the lottery he was in, the wins, the social aspect. He didn’t know, perhaps it had never occurd to him, that I might have a gambling issue and being reminded of it constantly.

When the adiction that is something known or seen – drink, drugs, tobacco, people tend to be careful how they talk about it around users or ex-users. When it is hidden – food, cutting, pornography, gambling – it is different.

No one sees the girl in the bathroom with cuts on her thighs, no one sees the woman hiding the food in a napkin, no one sees the guy huddled over the computer screen, no one sees the man getting further into debt, spiralling the lies as he chases that elusive win.

BUT

I said NO

I said I wouldn’t

I said I couldn’t

I chased that demon right off my patch, I didn’t explain why I couldn’t join in. I just didn’t.

 

In the other city, the half of the match; tension is mounting. I guess it is inevitable that with each test put before me a reaction is felt here. When I messed up in May it was used in so many ways. When I didn’t mess up this week it is also used.

I have given myself to the Lord to be used as He sees fit. In May I was given the insight of two different futures, I was given a glimpse of how my life would end if I went one way and how it would never end if I went another way.

So as this part of the city is as yet only imagined, not explored, little forays in the dead of night, after waking up from a dream about the city. It will remain secret.

The time is coming when all my addictions will be fully out into the open to help people to share. The time is coming when this part of the city will be mae public and

the time is coming when the two halves of the city will be united

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Colosians 3:16

tenderly compassionate

We need to show compassion in our dealings with each other. I need to show humility this week, to lose any notion of pridefulness.

I heard a very wise man last week talked about the “greater good” and it resonated with me so much. Everything we think, do and say should be for the glory of God, for the spreading of the Good News and therefore it follows on that this is for the greater good.

So sometimes it is necessary to keep our mouths shut when devil uses someone else’s tongue, sometimes it is necessary to walk away from contention, from gossip, from unwise chat. Further we are to value everyone else ahead of ourselves.

I spoke to someone at length earlier this summer and they taught me so much. “Be ready” they said to share, to preach, to teach but don’t thrust yourself forward, if there is somone more qualified or better than you let them do it.” It is not for ourselves that we “be ready”, it is not for me that I lead worship, share and do the stuff I do but I am also ready to step back, to step down when someone else steps up.

That is the tension and the balance: to be ready to give to your utmost but ready to let someone else go ahead of you in the queue. We are all running the race, we will all finish together, good works will not bring us further up the list, we all finish together. We live the fruits of the Spirit because that is all we can do. That is all we want to do. We have to let our lights be seen, not hide them under a barrel, the world has to see the new creations we have become.

But it is not a competition, it is a race we all win therefore, we must all do our part however small to endeavour as many people win as possible.

 

Philippians 2:1-11

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit,if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God, 
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing 
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, 
    being made in human likeness. 
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death —
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name, 
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, 
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, 
    to the glory of God the Father.

getting on/ getting it

there has been much spoken in my life recently about communion.

the understanding and misunderstanding of it.

I had to go back to the beginning in two ways

Back to the Last Supper :

The Lord’s Supper 

14 When the hour came, Jesus took his place at the table with the apostles.  

15 He said to them, “I have wanted so much to eat this Passover meal with you before I suffer!  

16 For I tell you, I will never eat it until it is given its full meaning in the Kingdom of God.” 

17 Then Jesus took a cup, gave thanks to God, and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 

 18 I tell you that from now on I will not drink this wine until the Kingdom of God comes.” 

19 Then he took a piece of bread, gave thanks to God, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in memory of me.”  

20  In the same way, he gave them the cup after the supper, saying, “This cup is God’s new covenant sealed with my blood, which is poured out for you.[a] 

21  “But, look! The one who betrays me is here at the table with me!  

22 The Son of Man will die as God has decided, but how terrible for that man who betrays him!” 

23 Then they began to ask among themselves which one of them it could be who was going to do this.

and Back to a dictionary:

  • the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level
  • common participation in a mental or emotional experience
  • (often Communion or Holy Communion)the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared. 
  • the consecrated bread and wine so administered and received
  • a group of Christian communities or churches that recognize one another’s ministries or that of a central authority. 

I went back to the root, to the Word, to the Bible and I felt, saw and heard the Lord’s Supper. Jesus broke the bread into pieces, think of this as my body when you eat bread again think of me. When giving the wine he told the disciples that he was going to die, and to think of the wine as his blood that was going to be shed not just for them but for all people.

 

Where does that leave me?

In some ways as perplexed as ever. As a child my mum would ask me to clean my room and then she’d check and wonder why it wasn’t done. I would use the excuse ” I forgot.”

Can I see a day when I would forget what Christ did for me on the cross?

Can I see a day when I would forget Christ?

Can I see a day when I would forget?

I am the most useless person for remembering things, like birthdays, meetings and the like. I don’t recognise people in the street and for many many years because of a phobia I could not remember how I interacted with a person, even quite close ones if I didn’t see them for some time.

Will there be a day when I forget?

Will there be a day when I forgot Christ?

Will there be a day when I forgot what Christ did for me on the Cross?

Does communion stop that from happening, does it help me remember?

In recent months I have taken communion in a more high church setting, the rituals around the liturgy, people were reading and meaning, I think. Getting the whole picture helped me place the setting. It did not help in the remembering.

Another time recently I was given the opportunity of being at a communion service where all people were welcome, even those of alternative lifestyles and orientation. That was beautiful; watching the mainstream “unacceptable” be acceptable.

 

Each day I thank the Lord for what he did for me, I thank the Lord that in doing that, in being beaten, tortured, crucified he died for me, he died that the curtain be torn in two, he died that our sins be forgiven, he died that my sins be forgiven. He died.

He went into hell for three days so we don’t have to and he rose up to heaven after the three days giving us assurance of eternal life.

BUT

each day in my prayers, in my praise, in my worship I remember. In my life I remember.

WHEN

I look at the sky and think of the great Creator, of the trinity being at the beginning of time. God creating the world and life being breaqthed into it. HE! He! he! he made all that, he is greater than all the universes, he is greater AND he wants me in his family.

HOW

can I not be grateful for what he has done, can I not remember what he has done.

 

THE TENSION REMAINS

I could forget, but then I could do a lot of things. The tension stays but it is good to have tension, it keeps us on our toes, it keeps us in communion.

When we eat the bread of the Lord’s Supper, we should see our relationship of faith and obedience to God. We should be reminded of our belief in the person and work of Jesus Christ, who gave His body for us.

Communion as sharing – we share in the communion together, so the whole church together remembers, the whole church together in obedience and faith think of our relationship with the Lord and with each other. It is a time when if we do not spend time in silence, we can meditate.

 

who’d da man?

‘So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’

I am so grateful to the foibles of my internet that it wouldn’t let me post yesterday. I had my bible reading and picture and was about to start writing ranting. Only one thing happened that pushed me off to vent and I spent three different fifteen minute journeys in prayer, in crying out, in desperation and one fifteen minute journey with a wisewoman who helped me with perspective.

She ranted too, she thought it was unfair, it was upsetting but it was in her getting upset about something that didn’t affect her directly, didn’t affect me directly. The upsetting sentence or paragraph that could even have been an off the cuff remark was not said to me, was not about me and I realised I was sliding into sharing misery, weltsmertz.

I spent a further two hours in fellowship where the “thing” was not mentioned, not because it was like an elephant in the room, but because it was gone, over, finished.

I cannot fix the original hurt, I have passed on my sympathies and hope that the person comes out of this time wiser and stronger but I cannot make them learn from this. We are all on such specific journeys. I delight on Sundays in how different we all are, we cover the entire spectrum of social classes, gender, race, age and maturity in Christ, and yet we join together in worship.

Our worship is in prayer, in reading of scripture, in song, in our offering and in listening to the message. We stand sit and kneel together in worship to our Lord, to the King of kings. In corporate praise we sing our hearts out, I was describing the section of four hymns to someone recently and was defending my choice of order and indeed of the hymns.

It went something like this: Starting with 1087, Lord I come before Your throne of grace, it puts God right at the centre of the praise, as king, as Lord. It’s theme is the faithfulness and love of God. Moving on to 1086, Light of the World that brings forward the worship of God from the first to the utter gratefulness we have for God’s grace and mercy in sending his only son that we might be saved. It brings in the Cross and redemption. We have been redeemed. Whilst in this state of grateful praise we bring ourselves to our knees. We are so unworthy and yet forgiven, and we sing 1123, We Bow Down and follow on with Jesus Christ I Think Upon Your Sacrifice. I was explaining to the person all this and then I said, at the end of that song we should be exhausted, we should have poured so much of ourselves in praise and worship we should be running on empty for a few minutes which allows us to again bring it back to the Lord, thanking him that we can rest in him until our breath comes back.

Our worship on a Sunday has to be exuberant, heartfelt and corporate. It should not be about who wears the prettiest dress, or sings loudest, or best. It should bring us to our knees, all of us, in absolute and utter awe. Jealousies should be left at the door, in fact we shouldn’t be jealous, we shouldn’t have pride, we shouldn’t be there for any other reason except to worship God.

Today there is no rant, no venting to an unknown audience, today I bring it to the Lord in prayer. Today I bring the person who said (whatever it was) and I bring the hurt person to the Lord in prayer. The bigger picture of this in which I am involved I really want to quote my brother “I picked up my ball and went home”, I want to not continue in the dispute, I want to run away, I want to hide.

BUT

I won’t, I will stand tall in the Lord’s strength and I will offer compassion and tenderness. I won’t enter a p£$%ing contest with them, who cares who on this earth comes ahead, God is number one, central to our lives and that is the bottom line.

Lord,

Thank you for wise women and lessons learned. Life is unfair sometimes but we can expound it so much by our actions, we fan the flames. Lord I lift up the people involved, the known people and the unknown.

You are the centre of my life, everything I say, do and think is for you. All of it is for you. Thank you for my freedom from sin, thank you for the changes you have made in me and continue to make. I thank you for this new creation, the layers and layers that you peel each day. I learn so much from you Lord, help me be acceptable to you, when I falter, when I fall short give me a nudge in the back.

Lord I struggle sometimes but even in my struggle you are their guiding teaching and letting me rest. Help me not pick up my ball and run home, help me stand ground, if it is your will. I am so eternally grateful Lord that you want me. Amen

 

lasting day

However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them. Exodus 16:20

It is difficult to follow the Lord, no one has ever said different. The secular world has it easy don’t they? They can break the rules, we can’t. We have to follow the Government rule even if it is not what we would do naturally: we pay our taxes voluntarily? We don’t speed in our vehicles even when we know there is no one watching? We can only take enough manna for one day. It only lasts one day.

I love that expression and it makes my spiritual, set aside non-secular life, the life I am living, in Jubilee, doing God’s will in everything I do, think and say even to the point of trying not to speed in my vehicle not as easy as being part of the world. But it allows me to bask in the glow of his love whilst living this life.

 

“It only lasts a day”

 

We need to keep our relationship fresh, pure and ready at all times. The nourishment only lasted one day. So if we are to be nourished effectively we must read scripture each day, we must study the bible each day, we must have a prayer life each day whether it is structured or not, we must praise and worship. I say “must” because I can’t do anything but do it so it is vital.

It is vital for our relationship with God, vital for our spiritual journey and vital for us to love and go.

Who would go evangelising on empty? Who would fellowship on empty? Who would serve on empty? It is not possible, it is not effective, and it doesn’t work.

We have to be enthusiastic, energetic and full. When was the last time you were so full of joy it just flows out of you and touches other people?

 

There was a time when Sunday worship kept me going till Wednesday and then a home bible study group got me through to Sunday again. Although it didn’t. Because I was constantly fending off the world, I had no defenses; I had bi-weekly feed, spiritual nourishment – a filling up. My prayer life was none existent and I sang praise twice a week outside of Sundays. I struggled, with sin, with being loved, with being forgiven. I did not have my daily manna.

Daily nourishment enriches our lives. It feeds us, fills us up, adds to the joy we feel and keeps us in the arms of the Lord. So I eat my manna daily, I don’t store it up for another day. Unlike theIsraelites I don’t wait to be fed, I go looking.

 

Dear Lord

Immeasurably in every facet of my life you have changed me. I love it and although I remember my life before, it is like a cardboard cutout of a life. Lord I thank you for the changes you have made in my life, I thank you that you continue to meet me daily, that you feed me spiritually and you provide for me.

Lord there are people who need you today, sisters and brothers in trouble, ill and floundering. You know their names Lord and I lift each of them up to you, to be healed as you wish. Amen

in the fold of a page

When I was little I made books out of pages, wrote stories and gave them to my Grandmother and her two sisters. They delighted in my tales, sharing them with their friends. I don’t have them anymore. As I grew up I read more and more and wrote less and less.

Sean challenged me to finish reading a book last week, he didn’t care which one it was as long as one book could be put away. He gave me a week, I failed, so I have to list the half read books and be open to people’s disgust at the pulp I read:

6 Days – a tale by Brendan Dubois (don’t you love that name – how was it made?) Random quote “Sheila saw the shocked expression on her man’s face and pressed forward” This is reminiscent of The Specials

Snow is falling all around, seven o’clock and the roads are blocked
So I walk down town, there’s no-one around

I walk in a bar and immediately I sense danger
You look at me girl as if I was some kind of a, a total stranger

Where did you get that blank expression on your face?
Where did you get that blank expression on your face?

The streets are dark, and there’s no-one about
I wander home and all the ,the lights are out, I keep wondering

City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish by Peter Parsons which just amazes me everytime I begin reading it but it sends me off searching for images so it is a book I look at least because it is so fascinating.

Love Wins by Rob Bell which I am reading for it’s perspective. I didn’t realise he was the same pastor whose leaving from Mars Hill I had listened to last year. Weird because the “voice” is different. The webcast had a man totally full of himself but so far the book is not about him at all. I don’t agree with his sweeping inclusivity but hey, controversy sells books.

The Return by J.John – I keep picking this up and then finding stuff to do. I know I will get loads from it when I do get to it but it is the focus I am missing.

That is it for this room. Well because I knew I was having to do this I put away Bedlam, Northside and Mooly among others. I have four cook books waiting to be read and countless epubs. Time isn’t an issue, wasting time is.

Endless texting, emailing and scrubbing floors stops me, I create barriers; I can’t read or write till the dinner is made, I can’t read till I have written, I can’t write till I have read. There is a chicken – egg thing going on here without a chicken or an egg to show for it.

If I have paper I can’t write, but when I have no paper – ooh the words just can’t wait to drip like syrup from a maple tree. Oozing beautiful syntaxes capable of winning prizes are lost because I don’t have paper. (in my head)

It is time to read all the books on the shelves and it is time to write. Somewhere in the folding over of a page I will write and soebody else will read.

trust

Complications of life, 0f living in a community, of being an individual with the oddities  within a collection of people. I have a quandary, I have a ying yang, see-saw problem. To say anything or let it go? To keep schtum and hope.

Dear Lord, help me please, help me use discernment, Help me draw a line in the sand between gossip and information that needs to be shared. And Lord help me deliver that information with love, am so in need of guidance on this one Lord, help me please, amen

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