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).

9.11.22: All souls

Context: A few days ago, I suddenly saw that the souls of the living and the souls of the dead are exactly the same. As always, I looked for further information about this in the Scriptures, and here is the result:

  • The souls of all the living, and the souls of all the dead are just the same, because to God all are alive:

He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive (Luke 20:38; NIV). 

  • Our souls come from God, remain part of God during our exile here, then return to God:

The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7; KJV). 

Behold, all souls are mine (Ezekiel 18:4; HNV). 

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

  • Every soul belongs to God:

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

  • The purpose of our lives is to become more and more like God:

Learn to know your Creator and become like him (Colossians 3:10; NLT). 

Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy (Ephesians 4:24; NLT). 

23.10.22: One word

Context: Today’s prayer arrived very soon after yesterday’s (https://wp.me/p45bCr-cFG). It recognises still further how incredibly fragile and vulnerable we all are:

Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him (Mark 14; 45-6; NIV).

One word,
One kiss,
One cross,
One breath:

We’re just one step
Away from death.

One blow,
One shot,
One bomb,
One breath:

We’re all one step
Away from death.

When you take away their breath, they die and turn again to dust (Psalm 104:29; NLT).


References

How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble! (Job 14:1; NLT).

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone (James 4:14; NLT).

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

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

You do not know the day or hour of my return (Matthew 25:13; NLT). 

We blossom like a flower and then wither. Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear (Job 14:2; NLT). 

God, the LORD, created the heavens and stretched them out. He created the earth and everything in it. He gives breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth (Isaiah 42:5; NLT).

I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!” But God said to him, “You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?” (Luke 12:19-20; NLT). 

He knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone – as though we had never been here. But the love of the LORD remains forever with those who fear him (Psalm 103:14-17; NLT).

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves (2 Corinthians 4:7; NLT).

19.10.22: High above

Context: Yesterday I was able to pray, to receive inspiration and to write again, after a week when this has been almost impossible. You can probably picture my joy, relief and thankfulness. This is what I was given:

As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared,
“Look! There is the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36; NIV). 

1. High above: your flawless sky;
Far below: your hidden depth.

2. Here, on earth: your spotless life;
Deep within: your sacred breath.

3. All around: your perfect love;
Soon, beyond: your humble death.

4. Close beside: your joyful voice –
Then, just ahead: your blissful rest.

Truly my soul finds rest in God (Psalm 62:1; NIV). 


References 

1.The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun (Psalm 19:1-4; NIV).

I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness – secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name (Isaiah 45:3; NLT). 

2.God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God (1 Peter 1:18-19; NLT). 

The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7; KJV). 

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

“Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Mark 14:36; NLT). 

He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death –  even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8; NIV).

4.Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me (Psalm 23:4; NLT). 

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” (Matthew 11:28-9; NLT).

God’s rest is there for people to enter (Hebrews 4:6; NLT).

2.10.22: I’m nothing

Context: Since my hospital trip to London, I’ve been feeling drained and empty. Prayer is almost impossible. All I can do is to wait, resting in God’s hands, knowing I’m nothing, and placing all my trust in God. Yesterday morning, when I tried to pray, this is what came to me:

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

Lord God, I know I’m nothing.

The only thing that’s good about me is that your Spirit lives in my soul.

Without your help, I can do nothing, Lord; I can’t even pray. 

Without you, I’m spiritually dead, though my body lives on.

I’m in your hand. You alone give me life, breath and everything I need to stay alive. When you close your hand, I will die. 

No matter what happens, Lord, please help me to become more like your dear Son in everything I think, say and do.

I ask this in his holy name. Amen.


References

I am nothing (Job 49:4; NLT). 

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16; NET).

Apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5; NLT).

The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-7; NRSV).

I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive – but you are dead (Revelation 3:1; NLT).

The life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being (Job 12:10; NLT). 

When you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust (Psalm 104:28-9; NIV). 

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

The Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18; NLT). 

Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:17; NIV).

20.9.22: The source of prayer

Context: Yesterday, I woke and began to pray, as usual. My list of people to pray for was at hand, but it is long, and I was weary of pushing myself to pray for each one in turn. So instead I just opened myself to being led in prayer.

Almost immediately, I received the first line of today’s blog, and wrote it down, then waited quietly, to see what would happen next. This is what I experienced:

The source of prayer is deep within. It comes from God, who lives in every soul (1).

God is our breath, our spirit, and our Saviour (2).

So I allowed God’s Spirit to guide my prayers (3). 

I prayed very simply for those who came to mind, feeling peaceful and unhurried (4).

To my considerable relief, no further insights arose from the dark depths of my unconscious mind. This meant I wouldn’t have to spend the day trying to express something that was difficult to put into words.

After praying for others until no more names appeared, I worshipped in silence until my prayer reached a comfortable, natural ending (5). 

It was bliss (6).


References 

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

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

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

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

I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior (Isaiah 43:3; NLT). 

3. The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-7; NRSV).

4. 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). 

5. YHWH is in the Holy Temple: let all the earth be silent in God’s presence (Habakkuk 2:20; TIB). 

6. Thou makest me to know the path of life; in Thy presence is fulness of joy, in Thy right hand bliss for evermore (Psalm 16:11; JPS Tanakh 1917). 

I honour you

Context: I woke, began to pray, and saw again, with awe, and more vividly than ever before, that God lives in everything, and that God is everything. In fact, there is nothing that isn’t one with God.

I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works (Psalm 145:5; NKJV). 

I honour you in all,
For you’re the energy, the light,
The pulse, the cells, the atoms, Lord,
The substance, and the life

In all that breathes, and grows and dies,
In all that fruits and fades,
In all that rises, all that falls,
And all, Lord, that degrades.

In earth and water, wind and fire,
In every star and sun:
By living over, in and through
All things, You make us one.

There is …one God and Creator of all, who is over all, who works through all and is within all (Ephesians 4:5-6; TIB).


References 

I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one – as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me (John 17:21-3; NLT). 

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread (1 Corinthians 10:16-17; KJV). 

I long to see your face (for M.I.)

Context: This prayer came to me in the shower yesterday morning, so I had to keep repeating the first couple of lines and rehearsing the progression of ideas, until I could get out and make notes on my iPad at top speed. Later in the day I was able to work on it at leisure, so here it is:

My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek (Psalm 27:8; NIV).

As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? (Psalm 42:1-2; NLT).

I long to see your face, Lord,
When I meet you, in the end,
My Teacher, Priest and Shepherd,
My Redeemer and my Friend.

Yet, may I wait with patience
For the day you make me whole,
When you draw near, to bear away
My life, and breath and soul,

Because I want to serve you
Till my time on earth has passed,
When, all my trials and sorrows done,
I’ll see your face, at last. 

I will see you face to face and be satisfied (Psalm 17:15; NLT).

Thank you

Context: Yesterday I went to watch my grandson have his riding lesson. This brought back memories from so long ago that they seemed to come from a previous life, when I was able-bodied. However, it is God who gives and takes away, so I’m entirely happy to be as I am now.

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). 

Thank you, Lord, for all you send,
For all you share, and all you lend;
For all you do, and all you make –
For all you give, and take.

Thank you, Lord, for life and breath,
For joy and pain, for birth and death;
For Christ, who came to set us free –
For loving even me.

Thank you, Lord, beyond all time,
For I am yours, and you are mine,
And though you wound me, yet you mend –
And always, Lord, defend.

For he wounds, but he also binds up;
he injures, but his hands also heal.
(Job 5:18; NIV). 


The angel of the LORD is a guard;
he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
(Psalm 34:7; NLT). 

Citizens of heaven

Context: Today I saw more fully that we really can experience heaven here and now, on earth, even in the most mundane or testing of situations.

Heaven and earth as not separate. Rather, they are one, for they exist entirely within the infinity of God, as does everything. When we live in love, we live in God, and this means living in heaven, which has no location, boundary, limit, time, beginning, or end.

When we live in God, and therefore in heaven, concepts such as ‘life’ and ‘death’ lose all meaning, for we are already “citizens of heaven” (Philippians 1:27; NLT). So, after these brief notes, here is today’s blog (which I posted early, by accident!)

In Christ there is no Jew or Greek,
slave or citizen, male or female.
All are one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; TIV). 

1. All things in earth and heaven are one:
There is no he or she;
There is no inequality;
There is no slave or free.

2. All things in earth and heaven are one:
There is no Jew or Greek;
There is no difference at all;
There are no strong, or weak.

3. All things in earth and heaven are one,
So there is no more death –
Just timeless, oceanic bliss,
Because we are your breath.

Yahweh God formed man from the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living soul
(Genesis 2:7; WEB). 


References 

1. The TIV Footnote to Galatians 3:28 refers to this verse as “the climax of Paul’s letter, establishing the equality of all those united in Christ through the Spirit.”

There is…one God and Creator of all, who is over all, who works through all and is within all (Ephesians 4:5-6; TIV). 

2. He knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust (Psalm 103:14; NLT).

3. There is life in the path of righteousness, and in its path there is no death (Proverbs 12:28; CSB). 

You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world (Colossians 2:20; NLT). 

We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our sisters and brothers (1 John 3:14; TIV). 

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:12; NLT).

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

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