Ruth is originally from Dublin, having grown up through the Mission church (now Immanuel Church). After study, she worked with X-ray machines and MRI scanners throughout Northern Ireland, though based in Belfast. She enjoyed being part of All Saints’ Church, and helping with the youth group and international student ministry there.
She then moved to London to study at the Cornhill Training Course, and work part-time as a church apprentice at Christ Church Little Heath, in Potters Bar. Since returning to Dublin to work with Irish Church Missions in 2010, she has been involved in one-to-one and group Bible studies among women at church, Christianity Explored courses, Bible studies and friendship at the English Corner International Café and co-ordinating the Children’s ministry. She has also been involved in organising the annual Dublin Women’s Convention, a day of Bible teaching and fellowship for women in Dublin, under the auspices of the Dublin Gospel Partnership.
Latest News from Ruth
Being free or having choice is considered the ideal in our society. “Be free from someone telling you what to do” “Be able to choose whatever happens to your body.” But are we ever free to choose? What does true freedom look like? Over the last term, we have been teaching the children in iKids (Immanuel Kids) about the Exodus, how God rescued His people from slavery in Egypt. This is an amazing picture for us of how God, in Jesus, frees us from slavery to sin, when we trust in Him. The memory verse to accompany this series was Romans 6:22, which to the tune of ‘the wheels on the bus’ goes as follows: “Now you are set free from sin, free from sin, free from sin, now you are set free from sin, you are God’s slave.” We explained each week that God is a good master, not a bad master like sin, or the Egyptians. God tells us in the Bible that none of us are truly free – naturally we are slaves to sin, slaves to our own selfish, sinful desires, putting ourselves first and ignoring others and God. Without being rescued from ourselves, we aren’t free to love Him, to please Him, to worship Him, to be the people He created us to be. It’s not a question of being free or not, but whom we serve. Do we serve the only truly loving, merciful, all-powerful Lord, or a selfish, proud, fallible Self? As our sinful nature hampers our ability to choose in a way which is free from our selfish desires, it is naieve that the ‘right to choose’ is held up as the ideal. Given a choice, can I ever really make a free choice, free from other influences? No. But I am free to follow God’s way. I’m thankful for the freedom there is in trusting God’s wisdom above my own. Even aside from it being God’s way, there are many reasons for why ‘choice’ is neither free, nor always a good thing. I have detailed some below, in my letter to the Citizens’ Assembly. Dear Members of the Citizens’ Assembly, The concept of ‘right to choose’, or ‘choice’ is often given as a reason to repeal the 8th amendment to the Irish constitution. Below are reasons I wish to highlight for retaining the 8th ammendment, pertaining to the concept of choice. – Choice is not always good in society – I do not have a choice about whether or not I wish to murder my child or my elderly relative. This lack of choice protects the weak and vulnerable. – Our laws and constitution define what is considered normal and acceptable in society. If an action such as abortion is declared legal, it will then be considered an acceptable and reasonable choice and shift public opinion to this view. Thus women will be strongly influenced in one direction, and not make a free choice. – Hard cases make bad laws. Allowing for choice for the sake of the relatively few hard cases will open the floodgates for effectively unlimited abortion, as happened in the UK. – It is discriminatory to give a choice in the case of unborn babies who have life-limiting conditions – it is declaring that unborn babies who are likely to die shortly after birth have less right to live than unborn babies with no known disability. – Parents of babies who are diagnosed with terminal conditions need as much love and support and compassion as we can give them. Highlighting to them a choice to terminate would be pressurising them into a serious, unnecessary, moral dilemma in the midst of an already traumatic time. – If there is a choice to terminate in the case of disability, this ‘choice’ will become a coercive offer. Well-meaning healthcare professionals, family and friends who are naturally fearful for the future of the mother will rarely encourage her into an unknown outcome. – In the UK, where there is ‘choice’ on the ground of disability, society’s attitude towards parents of disabled children is changing from one of sympathy (“did you know your baby would have this condition?”) to one of blame (“Didn’t you know your baby would have this condition??”). Please choose to love and protect the unborn and their parents. Please choose to retain the 8th Amendment. Yours faithfully, Ruth Bridcut
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A new film is being released in June, entitled “Me before You”. The trailer describes it as ‘the most romantic film of the year’ and the trailer clips are of a beautiful love story – it features a handsome man, involved in a motorbike accident, later seen in a wheelchair, and yet beautifully, he falls in love with a beautiful girl. The trailer is very attractive and I suspect it will make many watch the film, eager to enjoy a romantic story of love despite adverse circumstances. What doesn’t fit for me though, is the title “Me before You”. Surely this is loving myself, at the expense of the other, which is not admirable, attractive or godly. How is that romantic and loving? Surely true love is by definition other-person-centred? Loving someone else involves putting “You before Me”, considering the other person’s welfare before your own. This is expressed in many ways, from doing the washing-up, or changing the baby’s nappy, to providing financially, or to the greatest act of love, according to Jesus, that a man lay down his life for his friend. Rather than a “you before me” type of love, the film describes a “me before you” emotion, where the disabled man puts himself and his desires before those of his lover and closest family – he desires their help to take his life, and despite their objections, he persuades them that if they truly love him, they would allow him to choose “me before you”. Assisted suicide is being subtly introduced to Irish society as a reasonable, loving option, such that to disapprove may be taken to imply a lack of sympathy or compassion. When introduced to such moral dilemmas through emotional stories, people rarely think beyond the individual situation to the wider implications for society, nor do they think of God’s perspective. We are gradually soaking up the idea that an individual’s value is dependent on their quality of life, or ability to be autonomous or to achieve, rather than that every person is inherently precious in God’s sight. Do people realise that in such stories, disabled people are receiving a message that their lives are not valuable, not worth living? Will this not make a disabled or elderly person feel guilty that they are being a burden to their loved ones? Living with severe disability is not trivial or easy, but is giving the option, and hence the encouragement, to end my life really a loving thing? Could “Me before You” deprive us of an opportunity to show true, sacrificial love to those with greater needs? I pray that those watching this film may be protected from a “Me before You” attitude, and come to understand the greatest demonstration of “You before me”: “God demonstrated his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8
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It has been interesting how the concept “God wants me to be happy” has arisen several times for me lately. On Sunday evenings, as we near the end of our student Bible study group for this term, we were reading Malachi 3:10-12. This passage promises so much blessing that God’s people wouldn’t have room enough for it, and is often mis-interpreted as a promise for material prosperity for Christians today. Preparing for leading our Bible study on this passage caused me to investigate some claims of so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ or ‘health and wealth’ teachers. Joyce Meyer in her website  claims “God is looking and longing for someone who’s waiting for Him to be good to them. God wants to be good to you, but you have to be expecting Him to move in your life.” This implies that if you don’t see God as being good to you, it’s because you haven’t been trusting Him to do this. The ultimate goal is to receive good things, blessings from God, to be happy. Our right to happiness is surely a common sentiment being promoted in Ireland this month in the lead-up to the same sex marriage referendum on 22nd May. With the assumption that happiness is an entitlement, to deny anyone the right to marry whom they wish is to deny them happiness, to treat them unequally, to discriminate. I have also encountered more subtle versions of the ‘prosperity gospel’. We mightn’t be tempted to assume that God should grant us a mansion or a nice car, but I have heard Christian women use happiness to justify pursuing a relationship with an unbeliever – surely this is OK because God wants me to be happy? Or, having been encouraged recently by regular meet-ups with a Roman Catholic friend to read the Bible, I was slightly perturbed to receive a text message “God wants us to be happy, let go and let God”. My initial response to the “God wants us to be happy” claim has been to counteract it. “Yes, but… Surely our happiness isn’t as important to God as, for example, our holiness? Might God bring sadness to allow us grow in holiness?” This also is often what is heard when we encourage believers in Christian morality, reiterating the call to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Christ. However, I have been reflecting that happiness and holiness are not mutually exclusive. Growing in holiness doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing happiness. We can and should pray for blessing with the Psalmist (eg Psalm 67), but the key seems to be recognising what true blessing, or true happiness consists of. While the Old Testament pictures of material blessing were a foretaste of the ultimate blessings in God’s new creation, meanwhile, God’s people have been promised every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Money just can’t buy sins forgiven, peace with God, His Holy Spirit, the hope of heaven! God’s demands on our lives in areas of sexuality are for our good, not our misery. Surely part of our growing in holiness is that our perception of happiness is moulded more and more into finding our true eternal, unending happiness in God. “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands” (Psalm 112:1) “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8) Yes, God wants me to be happy, but with a happiness which only He can give. : https://www.joycemeyer.org/articles/ea.aspx?article=expecting_the_good_that_god_wants_to_give_you
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It’s not often that general chat at English Corner International café results in an opportunity to explain the gospel, but in God’s goodness, last Friday was such a day. A Brazilian couple have been coming each week, and always staying for Bible study afterwards. They always give really helpful, appropriate answers to the questions, agreeing that Jesus is the Messiah, he had great authority to heal and teach. However, a chat yesterday over coffee and biscuits was a great encouragement in the opportunity it provided to be personal and specific, and to answer individual questions. How did we get to faith issues? I can just vaguely remember – one minute we were talking about how long they were planning to stay in Brazil, and how she actually likes the Irish weather (!), and then a question about her experience of church in Ireland. I asked ‘what’s your faith background in Brazil’, to discover that she hadn’t had much Christian input in her life, leading her to ask: ‘how have you experienced God?’ I explained that God can make himself known in many ways, but generally it is as we read His Word, the Bible, that I learn something and think “Wow, that’s amazing, that’s really true” – that’s that God speaking to me. She said that she believes in God, and believes in Jesus – I suggested though that there are many (such as the devil) who believe in God and Jesus, it’s different from trusting God, from knowing him personally. I realised there were some puzzle pieces missing. “Have you ever thought about why Jesus came?” I asked. “It’s amazing, God came to earth at Christmas” “Yes, but why would he do that?” “I’m not sure” “Actually, he came to rescue us from a problem, do you know what problem we have? (knowing she’s sat in on several Bible studies)” “is it sin?” “Yes… and I explained, (using the empty juice carton beside us!), how our sin offends God, it separates us from Him, but Jesus took that sin on himself when he died” ding-ding-ding… time for the end-of-café announcements… end of discussion… But please pray with me for this girl; she’s intending to come on the International student Christmas weekend away next week. Please pray that more puzzle pieces fit together, that she may rejoice with us this Christmas at the birth of her Saviour.
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I often go for a walk / run along the River Liffey in Dublin, from the city centre towards the sea and back. It’s a scenic way of getting some exercise but I will confess, there’s often more walking than running. Nevertheless, to help me with the running psychology, in appropriate weather, I don shorts and a T-shirt. On such an evening, while I was on a walking phase, it registered slightly that I passed several Muslim women, with heads covered, wearing long flowing robes. It then registered more that someone was calling me. I turned, and a Dublin man on a bench called again “I bet they wish they could be wearing what you’re wearing”. How embarrassing to have a man comment on my lack of clothes! But really, it was a comment on his perception of the lack of freedom of Muslim women, fuelled by what he had heard in the news of the recent work of ISIS, the Islamic State millitants. I pointed out that often the motivation for certain acts is a promise of paradise, of something better in the afterlife. “How do we know about what lies after death?” I enquired, “because many people have different ideas, some say a person who dies has just sailed away and we’ll meet again some day, some say they hope it’s paradise, some say this is all there is” or something to that effect. “Yeah, good point, I don’t know, don’t know if we can know” “Well actually, there is one person who proves that there is life after death, because he died and came back from the dead.” “Really? Someone who had a near death experience?” “No, someone who was definitely dead, in fact professional executioners made sure he was dead.” “Aw who do you mean, you’ll have to tell me… it’s not Yasser Arafat?” “No, but I’m sure you’ve heard of him. Another clue…it was years ago, dead for three days” “Jesus Christ!!!” “Yes” “Aw, can’t believe I didn’t get that – oh, I don’t know, i’m not sure about the Catholic church, like, they’ve done lots of bad stuff” “I’m talking about Jesus, not any church…” the conversation continued until: “Aw, You’ve wrecked my head now thinking about all this stuff… are you a nun?” “Dressed like this?!” “Ah, you’re half a nun!” What a special, unexpected conversation! Pray that God will continue to work in Peter’s life and praise God that he uses us, despite our lack of spiritual (and physical!) fitness.
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