27.11.22: Better than life

Context: Today’s prayer arrived early yesterday morning when I woke at around 4am with a migraine. After taking my medications, I sat propped up in bed, alternately dozing and writing. These verses slowly emerged over the course of the day, finishing late in the evening:

What is sweeter than honey? (Judges 14:18; NLT). 

What’s sweeter than honey,
And choicer than wine?
Higher than knowledge,
And vaster than time?

What’s brighter than sunlight,
And greater than wealth?
Warmer than friendship,
And finer than health?

What’s stronger than sharing,
And deeper than love?
Kinder than giving,
And richer than blood?

What’s wiser than serving,
And dearer than breath?
Simpler than worship,
And closer than death?

What’s better than living,
And makes us all one?
It’s Christ, our salvation,
God’s dearly-loved Son.

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12; NLT).

This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy (2 Peter 1 17; NLT).


References

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him (Philippians 3:7; 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).

Your unfailing love is better than life itself (Psalm 63:3; NLT).

God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16; NLT).

14.11.22: My Maker

Context: A few days ago, just before I began to be ill with Covid, I woke around 5am, and was surprised by the arrival of this prayer, which gradually unfolded over the space of about an hour:

Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker (Psalm 95:6; NLT).

You are my Maker,
My spirit,
My soul;
You are my source,
And my way,
And my goal.

You are my Pattern,
My body,
My blood;
You are my mind,
And my heart,
And my love.

You are my Master,
My strength,
And my breath;
You are my grief,
And my pain,
And my death.

You are my Shepherd,
My staff,
And my rod;
You are my life,
And my Lord,
And my God.

“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed

21.10.22: Gifts

Context: Yesterday morning I prayed with words, then without, until I suddenly saw this little poem:

God has blocked my way so I cannot move. He has plunged my path into darkness (Job 19:8; NLT). 

You have taken away my companions and loved ones. Darkness is my closest friend (Psalm 88:18; NLT). 

I give you my darkness,
My weakness and sin –
That’s all I can offer, Lord:
Failure, within.

I give you my loneliness,
Sickness and fears –
That’s all I can offer, Lord:
Mourning and tears.

I give you my sorrow,
My anguish and shame –
That’s all I can offer, Lord:
Longing and pain.  

I give you my suffering,
Body and blood,
My mind, heart and soul, Lord:
I give you my love. 

I will give you my love (Song of Songs, 7:12; NLT). 

3.10.22: I weep

Context: I’m so drained that I’m finding prayer very difficult. Depression is creeping closer, threatening to overwhelm me. Two days ago I sat on the floor with my back resting against the wall, attempting to pray. After a time of silence, this little poem arrived:

I weep with sorrow (Psalm 119:28; NLT). 

1. I weep with pain and sorrow, Lord,
With loneliness, and grief.

2. Weariness destroys my freedom,
Sickness is a thief.

3. Anguish closes over me,
It suffocates, like sin,

4. Yet still your love beats in my blood,
For you, Lord, live within.

Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us (Colossians 3:11; NLT).


References 

1.He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! 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 26:37-9; NLT). 

2.Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go (John 21:18; NIV). 

3.Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me (Psalm 42:7; NIV).

4.You are the temple of the living God (Luke 17:21; NKJV).

Don’t you realise that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16; NLT).

Transfixed

Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10; NLT). 

Transfixed by God in stillness,
Here I wait, for you are always near,
To share each prayer, and sigh and tear
Together.

Transfixed by God in silence,
Now I worship wordlessly, and bow,
For you are with me, I and Thou,
My Saviour.

 Transfixed by God in solitude,
I celebrate your perfect love,
Renewed, forgiven through your blood
Forever.

Transfixed by God in darkness,
Lord, your Spirit hovers here, adored;
Though made of dust, I am restored
To wholeness.

Transfixed by God in perfect bliss,
I cleave to you; we interweave:
United, may I never leave
Your presence.

Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
(Hebrews 10:22; NLT).  

Because of Christ and our faith in him,
we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
(Ephesians 3:12; NLT). 

You alone suffice

Context: After having the most astonishing, wonderful, joyful and liberating day yesterday, today’s blog just poured out as soon as I woke and started to pray this morning.

My grace suffices thee: for my power is perfected in weakness.
(2 Corinthians 12:9; LET). 

Yahweh,
You alone suffice:
My hiding-place,
My paradise;
My book, my priest,
My light, my peace –
I love you.

Yahweh,
You alone are God:
My resting-place,
My staff, my rod;
My night, my day,
My truth, my way –
I love you.

Yahweh,
You alone are good:
My dwelling-place,
My flesh, my blood;
My jubilee,
My liberty –
I love you.

Yahweh,
You alone are bliss:
My life, my death,
My longed-for kiss;
My welcome home,
My great shalom
I love you.

I love you, Lord; you are my strength.
(Psalm 18:1; NLT).


Reference

Shalom is a Hebrew word meaning peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility. It can refer to either peace between two entities (especially between a person and God, or between two countries), or to the well-being, welfare or safety of an individual or a group of individuals (Wikipedia).

Through loving (#2 of 3)


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).

Through loving God,
We learn to love our neighbours.

Through loving them,
We learn to welcome strangers.

Through loving them,
We learn to love

Even those
Who thirst for blood,

And, loving them,
We learn to love ourselves.

Love your neighbour as yourself (Luke 1027; NLT).

When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified – one on his right and one on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
(Luke 23:33-4; NLT).

Birth to bliss

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born (Matthew 1:18; NLT). 

Birth to bliss, and bliss to birth:
Christ, Messiah, here on earth.
Bliss to birth, and birth to bliss:
Now, receiving Mary’s kiss.

Light to dark, and dark to light:
Christ, transfigured, shining bright.
Dark to light, and light to dark:
Now, in anguish, broken heart.

Sweat to blood, and blood to sweat:
Jesus, weeping, facing death.
Blood to sweat, and sweat to blood:
Crucified, his pain is love.

Death to life, and life to death:
Jesus takes his final breath.
Life to death, and death to life:
He comes again, to end all strife.

Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him (Hebrews 9:28; NLT).

References

Christ died and rose again for this very purpose – to be Lord both of the living and of the dead (Romans 14:9; NLT).

The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war any more (Isaiah 2:4; NLT). 

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” (Revelation 21:3-4; NLT). 

After the Eucharist (for J.K.)

Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you cannot have eternal life within you
(John 6:53; NLT).

Remain in me, and I will remain in you.
For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine,
and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me
(John 15:4; NLT). 

1. After the Eucharist,
Stay in my hands,
Then, all I touch will be blessed.
Stay on my tongue, Lord,
Remain in my thoughts,
Then I will pass every test.

2. After the Eucharist,
Stay in my heart,
Then, I’ll serve others with care.
Stay in my blood,
And remain in my bones,
Then, I’ll help others, through prayer.

3. After the Eucharist,
Stay in my life,
Till this long exile is done.
Stay in my spirit;
Remain in my soul –
Then, we will always be one.

You …are complete through your union with Christ
(Colossians 2:10; NLT).


References 

1. When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ? (1 Corinthians 10:16; NLT).

We …touched him with our own hands (1 John 1:1; NLT). 

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely (Psalm 139:4; NIV).

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5; NIV).

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5; NKJV).

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

2. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:11; NLT). 

Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all (Mark 9:35; NIV).

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:40; NIV).

Don’t you know that your bodies are a part of Christ’s body? (1 Corinthians 6:15; CSB).

Pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them (1 Timothy 2:1; NLT).

3. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us (Colossians 3:11; NLT).

Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord (Romans 14:8; NIV).

Our daily bread

Give us this day our daily bread
(Matthew 6:11; NKJV).

I am the living bread that came down from from heaven
(John 6:51; NLT).

1. Jesus is the only food
That matters:
His body is my bread;
His blood, my wine.

2. Jesus is the only church
That matters:
His teaching is my truth;
His word, my shrine.

3. Jesus is the only path
That matters:
His footsteps are my way;
His love, my light.

4. Jesus Christ the Lord
Is all that matters:
His Spirit is my Guide;
His cross, my life. 

Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us
(Colossians 3:11; NLT).


References 

1. My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink (John 6:55; NIV). 

2. He is the Saviour of his body, the church (Ephesians 5:23; NLT). 

I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die! (John 8:51; NLT).

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6; NLT).

He is the Word of life (1 John 1:1; NLT).

When Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body (John 2:21; NLT). 

Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit (Ephesians 2:22; NLT). 

God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us (1 John 4:13; NLT).

How good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter (Psalm 73:28; NLT). 

3. God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21; NLT). 

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

I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life (John 8:12; NLT).

4. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him (Philippians 3:9; NLT).

Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives (Galatians 5:16; NLT).

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God (1 Colossians 1:18; NLT).