God’s presence

I will lie down and sleep peacefully,
for you, Lord,
make me safe and secure
(Psalm 4:8; NET). 

1. I sleep in your presence,
Absorbing your love,
Soothed by your peace, Lord,
And safe in your arms.

2. I wake in your presence,
Suffused by your light,
Hearing your voice, Lord,
And learning your truth.

3. I rise in your presence,
Accepting each loss,
And, trusting your strength, Lord,
I take up my cross.

If any of you wants to be my follower,
you must turn from your selfish ways,
take up your cross daily, and follow me
(Luke 9:23; NLT).


References 

1. God is love (1 John 4:8; NLT).

He loves us with unfailing love (Psalm 117:2; NLT).

The Lord is peace (Judges 6:24; NLT). 

I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord (Ezekiel 34:15; NLT).

The everlasting Gods is a refuge, and underneath you are his eternal arms (Deuteronomy 33:27; NET).

2. When I wake up, you are still with me! (Psalm 139:18; NLT).

God is light (1 John 1:5; NLT).

God speaks time and again, but a person may not notice it (Job 33:14; CSB). 

The Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6; NKJV).

Mary sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught (Luke 10:39; NLT).

3. Rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you (Acts 26:16; NKJV). 

Should we accept only good things from the hand of God, and never anything bad? (Job 2:10; NLT).

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows (John 16:33; NLT).

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21; CSB). 

Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you (Isaiah 30:20; NLT).

The Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength (Isaiah 26:4; KJV).

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy (Psalm 28:7; NLT). 

In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall (Psalm 18:29; NLT). 

Celtic Christianity (#1 of 2)

Pray about everything (Philippians 4:6; NLT).

Pray throughout each task you do:
Ask the Lord to strengthen you.
Extol his name both night and day,
And glorify him, come what may.

Care for everyone you meet.
Welcome sickness and defeat.
Adore creation, sing, rejoice,
And listen for his still, small voice.

Grasp how life and death combine:
Play your part in God’s design.
Accept that everything must cease,
And revel in his perfect peace.

Worship; value all he sends.
Thank him when your time here ends,
Then leave your body far behind –
Return to God: bliss unconfined!

Into your hands I commit my spirit (Psalm 31:5; NIV).

The dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it
(Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).

Suffering

God teaches people through suffering
and uses distress to open their eyes.
(Job 36:15; GNT). 

1. You teach, and train, and test us all
By sending good and ill –

2. We only hurt ourselves, Lord,
When we fight against your will.

3. May we accept our suffering
With joy, and thanks, and prayer,

4. Trusting you to help us grow in love,
Through all we bear.


References

1. The Lord your God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul (Deuteronomy 13:3; NLT).

Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth? (Lamentations 3:38; NASB95).

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other (Ecclesiastes 7:14; NIV). 

2. It is useless for you to fight against my will (Acts 26:14; NLT). 

You are hurting yourself by kicking against the goads (Acts 26:14; NET). 

It’s foolish to fight against me! (Acts 26:14; CEV). 

Submit to God and be at peace with him (Job 22:21; NIV).

3. This is my intense suffering, but I must bear it (Jeremiah 10:19; CSB). 

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NLT).

4. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4; NIV).


 

Entrusted with suffering

1. Introduction

We come into this world with nothing, and we leave with nothing. Along the way, we experience many joys, trials and sorrows. God gives us everything we have, but he also takes things away from us. Thus, he tests us to see how we freely respond.  This process reveals whether or not we love him with all our mind, heart, soul and strength.

No one is exempt from being tested by suffering, including Christ. This is why he is able to suffer with us, whilst helping us to find and follow his way of love through every experience. Jesus’ life and death clearly demonstrate that God brings good out of even the most terrible suffering, and the same can also be true for us.

2. Suffering 

When others suffer, we pray that they will be strengthened, helped, and healed. Additionally, we can ask God to bring good from what they are undergoing, both for the sufferer, and for others.

However, when we ourselves must suffer, Jesus invites us to shoulder our cross and follow him. This means we have a choice about how to respond to our situation.

3. Responses to suffering 

A. We may respond to suffering with resentment, anger, bitterness or despair, blaming God for the troubles he has sent us. If suffering makes it impossible for us to maintain our previous understanding of God, we are likely to become disillusioned, rejecting him, and perhaps even losing our faith altogether. Yet such inner struggles can be healed, because God endlessly waits for us to turn to him, longing to help us reach a deeper understanding of him, and of our suffering.

B. Alternatively, we can respond to suffering by learning to face, accept and even welcome it, seeing it as a way of sharing in the redemptive suffering of Christ. By adopting this approach, we can focus on asking God to help us embrace what we must undergo, for it is useless to fight against his will. As above, we can also pray that God will bring good from our suffering, especially for others. Such an attitude might take many years to develop, but we have our whole lifetime to work on it, until our last breath.

4. Entrusted with suffering

Suffering is not imposed on us without purpose. Rather we are entrusted with a level of suffering that is commensurate to the strength of our faith. Like Jesus, our task is to face it in such as way as to be an example, an encouragement and an inspiration to others. This is how God brings good from it, often in very unexpected ways.

5. Suffering as an opportunity 

Suffering can therefore be understood as an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth, a form of service, a privilege, a blessing, an honour and a glory. Such an approach gives rise to a much more positive attitude than seeing it as a random or unfair event, a judgement, or a punishment. We can thank God for it, doing our very best to endure and manage our suffering with patience and love. This approach brings peace of mind, for we can be confident that our approach to suffering will help others, and even ourselves. In this way, suffering is transformed and made meaningful, becoming easier live with, and to bear.

6. Conclusion

Whatever trials and sorrows we face, we can turn to God and ask for his help. Summoning all our courage, we can choose to trust in him, whilst being as joyful, prayerful, thankful and loving as possible. When we have faith that God will support and teach us through all we experience, we can be assured that our suffering will, in time, bear fruit.

God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering (Genesis 41:52; NIV).

References

1. Introduction

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21; CSB).

The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows (John 16:33; NLT).

The Lord your God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul (Deuteronomy 13:3; NLT).

Whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free (James 2:12; NLT). 

He did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all (Romans 8:32; NLT). 

Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested (Hebrews 2:18; NLT).

I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6; NLT).

In all their suffering he also suffered (Isaiah 63:9; NLT). 

Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood (Hebrews 13:12; NLT).

In all things God works for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28; NIV).

2. Suffering 

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them (1 Timothy 2:1; NLT). 

If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me (Matthew 16:24; NLT).

3. Responses to suffering

A. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? (Psalm 22:1; NLT).

The Lord longs to be gracious to you (Isaiah 30:18; NIV).

The Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion (Isaiah 30:18; NLT).

B. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? (Job 2:10; NIV).

If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine (Matthew 26:39; NLT).

It is useless for you to fight against my will (Acts 26:14; NLT).

You are hurting yourself by kicking against the goads (Acts 26:14; NET). 

It’s foolish to fight against me! (Acts 26:14; CEV). 

If we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering (Romans 8:17; NLT).

Submit to God and be at peace with him (Job 22:21; NIV).

God teaches people through suffering and uses distress to open their eyes (Job 36:15; GNT). 

Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last (Luke 23:46; NLT).

4. Entrusted with suffering

From the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked (Luke 12:48; NIV). 

Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13; GNT).

God chose you to suffer as you follow in the footsteps of Christ, who set an example by suffering for you (1 Peter 2:21; CEV).

5. Suffering as an opportunity 

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation (James 1:12; NLT).

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory (2 Timothy 2:10; NIV). 

He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more (John 15:2; NLT). 

We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope (Romans 5:3-4; NIV).

6. Conclusion 

Trust in God (John 14;1; NLT).

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NLT).

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ (Ephesians 5:2; NLT).


 

Turn to God

Each of you must repent and turn to God, and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; NLT).

Turn to God,
And start afresh:
Repent of all your sin.
Accept forgiveness,
Bless your foes,
And welcome Christ within.

Turn to God,
And start again:
Be Spirit-filled, and pray.
Take up your cross,
Put others first,
And follow Christ each day.

Turn to God,
And start anew:
Accepting all he sends.
Through good and bad
Love everyone,
Until your journey ends.

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love (Galatians 5:6; NIV).


Choices

Let me show you a way of life that is best of all.
(1 Corinthians 12:31; NLT). 

Lord,

1. Did you choose the finest cross?
The brightest nails?
The quickest death?
Did you select the gentlest way
To take your final breath?

2. No,  you endured the roughest cross,
The coarsest nails,
The foulest death:
For us, you faced the darkest way
To take your final breath.

3. May I take up my cross, like you,
Accept the nails,
Embrace my death,
And gladly share your way of love
Until my final breath.

I will praise my God to my last breath.
(Psalm 104:33; NLT).


References 

1. Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross (Mark 15:24; NLT).

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34; NLT).

Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last (Luke 23:46; NLT). 

2. As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified” (Matthew 20:17-19; NLT). 

3. If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me (Matthew 16:24; NLT).

Together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering (Romans 8:17; NLT). 

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children, and walk in the way of love (Ephesians 5:2; NIV).

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ (Ephesians 5:2; NLT).

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us (1 John 3:16; NLT).

 


 

Jesus, I accept you

To all who believed him and accepted him,
he gave the right to become children of God.
(John 1:11; NLT). 

1. Jesus, I accept you,
Father, I believe,
Spirit, I depend on you:
My God, to whom I cleave.

2. Jesus, I exalt you,
Father, I adore,
Spirit, I rejoice in you:
My God, for evermore. 

3. Three-In-One, my Saviour,
You have set me free:
Words cannot express my joy
That you, Lord, first loved me.

4. Shepherd King, I love you
With mind, and strength, and soul,
Thanking you with all my heart,
For you have made me whole.

5. Lord, receive my worship,
Father, Spirit, Son:
Nothing can express my praise –
For you have made us one.

🖤

Whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
(1 Corinthians 6:17; NIV).

 


References

1. I tell you the solemn truth, whoever accepts the one I send accepts me, and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me (John 13:20; NET). 

2. I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever (Psalm 145:1; NIV). 

3. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord has come (Luke 4:18-19; NET). 

We love each other because he loved us first (1 John 4:19; NLT). 

4. I love you, Lord (Psalm 18:1; NLT).

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind (Luke 10:27; NLT).

He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5; RSV).

5. O Lord our God, others have ruled us, but you alone are the one we worship (Isaiah 26:13; NLT). 

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; NLT).

I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one (John 17:22; NLT).

 


 

Whatever you give

I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave.
The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away.
Praise the name of the Lord!
(Job 1:21; NLT).

 1. Whatever you give,
And whatever you take,
I will face it all, Father,
And praise you.

2. Whatever you give,
And whatever you take,
I know you will work
For my good.

3. Whatever you give,
And whatever you take,
I will bear and accept it
As part of your plan.

4. Whatever you give,
And whatever you take,
I will thank you for everything,
Trusting your love.

🖤

Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.
Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.
These events will bring great honour to the Lord’s name;
they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.
(Isaiah 55:13; NLT).

 


References

1. To keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh… Three times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me… for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:7-10; NLT). 

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things (1 Chronicles 29:11; NLT). 

2. We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him (Romans 8:28; GNT).

3. You cannot be my disciple unless you carry your own cross and follow me (Luke 14:27; CEV).

People cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes 3:11; NLT).

The Lord will work out his plans for my life (Psalm 138:8; NLT).

God saved us and called us to live a holy life… That was his plan from before the beginning of time – to show us his grace through Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 1:9; NLT).

“I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11; NLT).

4. My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects the child in whom he delights (Proverbs 3:11-12; NLT).

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; RSV).

Trust in God and trust also in me (John 14:1; NLT).

 


 

Understanding

The Spirit of God has made me,
and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
(Job 33:4; NLT).

1. Help us, Lord, to understand
That you, alone, give all we have,

2. And that you also take away –
For every life brings good and bad.

3. Help us to accept your will
With gladness, thanks, and constant prayer,

4. Trusting, Lord, that you’ll bring blessings
In the end, from all we bear.

🖤

We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him,
those whom he has called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28; GNT).

 


References

1. He himself gives life and breath to everything (Acts 17:25; NLT).

2. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21; CSB). 

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other (Ecclesiastes 7:14; NIV).

3. My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done (Matthew 26:42; NLT).

I want your will to be done, not mine (Matthew 26:39; NLT).

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; RSV).

4. Trust in God and trust also in me (John 14:1; NLT).

 


 

Come to me

Then Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30; NLT).

Come to me,
All you who suffer:
I will give you rest.

Take my yoke,
And let me teach you
As you face each test.

Accept your cross,
And trust in me:
The load I give is light.

Then follow me,
For you and I
Are precious in God’s sight.

🖤

Then he [Jesus] said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it” (Luke 9:23-4; NLT).

You are precious in my sight (Isaiah 43:4; NASB20).