27.10.22: Dreams

Context: At present, I’m having a lot of challenging and alarming dreams. Yesterday morning, as I surfaced from a particularly long, disturbing one, I started to pray, and immediately received today’s poem. Later in the day I printed it out, and put a copy beside my pillow. The plan is to say it every night just before settling down to sleep, straight after the beautiful Song of Simeon (see below).

Update: I did this last night, and had no horrible dreams at all, for which I thank God!

God speaks in dreams, those visions of the night when deep sleep covers the land and all are slumbering in their beds. At these times God speaks in our ears and terrifies us with admonitions, to turn us away from wickedness and to keep us humble (Job 33:15-17; TIB). 

Lord,

Stay with me in my dreams,
To help and comfort me, I pray,

Then, be with me when I wake,
To guide and strengthen me each day.

May I hearten others, too,
With help and comfort, when I can, 

And walk the extra mile with them,
And share their load, like you, God’s Lamb. 

If one of the occupation troops forces you to carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles (Matthew 5:41; GNT).


References 

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

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2; NLT).


Reading: the Song of Simeon

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel (Luke 2:29-32; KJV).

12.9.22: When I’m rushing

Following my blog about being introduced to my ‘Pause’ button a few days ago (see https://wp.me/p45bCr-ccE), I discovered yesterday that I also have available a ‘Slow’ button, a ‘Stop’ button and a ‘Rest’ button. This is very exciting, because I’ve never consciously recognised, or been able to access, any of these inner control buttons before. Here is what sprang from this healing realisation:

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…

When I’m rushing,
I press Slow, Lord,

When I want to,
I press Pause;

When I need to,
I press Stop, Lord,

Then I Rest,
Within your hands.

…and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28-9; NLT).


References

Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. On the seventh day God had finished all the work of creation, and so, on that seventh day, God rested. God blessed the seventh day and called it sacred, because on it God rested from all the work of creation (Genesis 21-3; TIB).

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile” (Mark 6:31; NLT).

You live in my darkness

Context: Greetings to everyone who follows, or visits, this website. Some of you will be aware that my health, energy and mobility are steadily deteriorating. This makes producing a fully-referenced poem or article every day more tiring than I can manage nowadays. I’ve been struggling badly for the last few months, as this task has gradually become more and more of a challenge.

Tomorrow is my 70th birthday, so from that day onwards, for a trial period of a month, I’m going to share what God shows me each day much more directly, just as I experience it and note it down at the time. This might take the form of a short prayer, or a set of reflections. I don’t know yet exactly what will happen, but I trust God to help me.

This new approach should greatly reduce my daily work-load, but will still enable me to share with you what I’m given. After a month, I’ll review how I’m coping, and let you know how it has felt.

You might smile to know that a few days ago, in desperation, I had decided to keep on writing as before, but only to post on alternate days. However, this didn’t feel right, and I knew it wasn’t exactly what God wanted. Then today, about an hour ago, I was given the new approach described above, which means I can still post every day. It’s a great relief to have received this guidance, and to have a way forward that feels right. My only desire is to do God’s will.

Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
(Exodus 20:21; NLT).

Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship,
for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
(Psalm 89:15; NLT). 

1. You live in my darkness;
I walk in your light.

2. You cannot be seen,
But I dwell in your sight.

3. You bear all my burdens;
I lean on your might.

4. In love and rejoicing,
Complete: we unite. 

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


References 

1. When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12; NIV). 

2. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us (1 John 4:12; NLT). 

We shall live in his sight (Hosea 6:2; KJV). 

3. Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens (Psalm 68:19; NIV). 

In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years (Isaiah 63:9; NLT). 

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

4. I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love (Psalm 31:7; NLT). 

We know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them (1 John 4:16; NIV).

Trust

Context: This prayer started to arrive just before the appointment with my consultant, and (to my great surprise), continued to arrive after it! My doctor couldn’t give me any definite news, though some conditions have now been ruled out. It’s looking more and more likely that I have Autonomic Neuropathy, so the next step will be a trip to London for more detailed tests. These should lead to a conclusive diagnosis. Meanwhile, here is today’s prayer:

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

Lord,

1. I put my trust in you
To help me face each test.
Depression and anxiety?
Well, all you send is blest.

2. Sorrow, fear and suffering?
Your will is my command.
Darkness, panic, grief and tears?
I place them in your hand.

3. For these have now become my “pearls”,
My pearls beyond all price.
Through them, Lord, I learn to grasp
Your perfect sacrifice.

4. My trials are now my offerings:
I share them all with you,
While you, Lord, share them all with me,
And love to help me, too.

5. Thus, you show me how to live,
To learn, and grow, and care
For others, while you help me face
The burdens I must bear.

6. My faith, my pain, my love, my life:
I lay them at your feet.
My Lord, my God, my All-In-All,
Your healing is complete.

Those who suffer he delivers in their suffering;
he speaks to them in their affliction (Job 36:15; NIV).

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly
we are wasting away, yet inwardly
we are being renewed day by day.
(2 Corinthians 4:16; NIV).


References 

1. I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life (Psalm 143:8; NIV). 

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

Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal (Job: 5:17-18; NIV).

2. 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 26:39; NLT). 

 3. The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant’s search for fine pearls. When one pearl of great value was found, the merchant went back and sold everything else and bought it (Matthew 13:45-6; TIV). 

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).

4. When Christ came into the world, he said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer” (Hebrews 10:5; NLT).

God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time (Hebrews 10:10; NLT). 

Trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge (Psalm 62:8; NLT). 

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

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most (Hebrews 4:15-16; NLT). 

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).

5. Then he 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” (Luke 9:23; NLT). 

His command is that you walk in love (2 John 1:6; NIV).

The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving (Psalm 28:7; NLT). 

6. “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed (John 20:28; NLT). 

Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:28; NKJV). 

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again (Psalm 71:20; NIV).

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 21:4; NLT). 

Realisations

Context: I would much rather that someone hurt me, than that I hurt someone else. Realising I have accidentally hurt someone always fills me with dread, because I have no hope or expectation of being forgiven after discovering my mistake and saying how sorry I am.

All this comes from long experience of my mother, from whom I learned that I would always be blamed, punished and rejected for whatever wrong she considered me to have done. Never forgiven or forgotten, all my mistakes were cumulatively held against me. I have long been aware that this is not a good foundation for relating to other people, or understanding what God is like, yet it has proved astonishingly difficult to change.

Yesterday morning I woke up still feeling very anxious and upset about a mistake I made, and apologised for, the day before. As I was talking it through with the person concerned, God suddenly deluged me with a series of shattering personal realisations. I wept whilst the whole experience brought badly-needed healing to my poor, damaged soul.

This is what I realised: 

God is not at all like my earthly mother

God accepts my sorrow, then forgives and forgets my sins.
God’s love is unconditional and unfailing.
God always wants the best for me.
God doesn’t resent me for existing.
God won’t belittle, bully, or abuse me.
God never blames me for having an accident of any kind.
God doesn’t punish me for making mistakes.
God doesn’t rage at me, or reject me, for doing something I didn’t know was wrong.
God doesn’t see me as a changeling – i.e. not at all what was expected or desired.
God never sees me, or treats me, as an unwanted burden.
God doesn’t see me as basically unlovable.

And out of all this learning came today’s spontaneous, heartfelt, little prayer:

You touched my soul today, Lord God;
You touched my soul today.
You touched and healed,
For you revealed
The wisdom of your way.

God’s way is perfect (2 Samuel 22:31; NLT).


References 

God is love (1 John 4:8; NIV). 

He forgives all my sins (Psalm 103:3; NLT). 

He restores my soul (Psalm 23:3; NKJV). 

Follow the way of love (1 Corinthians 14:1; NIV). 

Trials and tests

The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.
(Deuteronomy 13:3; NIV).

Give thanks in all circumstances.
(1 Thessalonians 5:18; NIV).

1. Thank you, Lord, for every trouble,
Every trial and test.
As I face them all with you,
I know I’m truly blest.

2. Guide me, Lord, through every sorrow,
Every trial and test.
As I share them all with you,
I try to do my best.

3. Help me, Lord, with every burden,
Every trial and test.
As I bear them all with you,
I find your perfect rest.

🖤

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).


References

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

In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years (Isaiah 63:9; NLT). 

2. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength (Isaiah 58:11; NLT).

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you (1 Peter 5:7; NLT). 

3. 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).

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens (Psalm 68:19; NIV). 

Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength (Isaiah 30:15; NLT).

 


 

Don’t let prayer become a burden


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).

Don’t let prayer become a burden;
Don’t let prayer become a chore:
Listen to the Spirit’s prompting –
Silence is your inner core.

Take it slowly. Take it gently.
Keep it honest; not too long:
One with God in deep communion –
Though you’re weak, your prayers are strong.

Revel in your intercessions;
Pray for those who cross your path,
Begging God to bless and heal them –
Don’t let this become a “task”.

For yourself, ask God to help you
Face, and bear, his perfect will
With humble thanks, and great rejoicing –
Knowing that he loves you, still.

Pray that many unbelievers
Meet Christ Jesus, hear his call,
Repent, and turn to him each day –
Because the Father loves us all.

🖤

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).


In darkness

If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord, and rely on your God (Isaiah 50:10; NLT). 

I grope towards you, Lord,
In darkness,

Blunder,
On your narrow way;

Burdened
By my trials and sorrows,

Trusting you, Lord,
Every day.

I grope towards you, Lord,
In silence;

Lost in stillness;
All alone;

Yearning, Lord,
To see your face,

When you draw near
To take me home.

They shall see his face
(Revelation 22:4; KJV). 


Underneath our troubles

Underneath you are his eternal arms
(Deuteronomy 33:27; NET).

1. Underneath our troubles,
When we must face the test
Of worry, fear, or loneliness:
Lord, may we find your rest.

2. Underneath our sorrows,
When we live with the pain
Of anguish, loss, or suffering:
May we find hope again.

3. Underneath our questions,
When we go far astray
Through error, sin, or unbelief:
Lord, may we find your way.

4. Underneath our burdens,
When we approach each chore
With heavy heart, or weariness:
May we find peace, once more.

Keep on seeking and you will find
(Matthew 7:7; NLT).

References

1. My life is full of troubles (Psalm 88:3; NLT).

The Lord tests the heart (Proverbs 17:3; NLT).

I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28; NLT).

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

You care about the anguish of my soul (Psalm 31:7; NLT).

I will put my hope in God (Psalm 42:5; NLT).

3. They finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious leaders, listening to them and asking questions (Luke 2:46; NLT).

I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief! (Mark 9:24; NLT).

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

4. Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28; NLT).

The peace I give is a gift the world cannot give (John 14:27; NIV).

Christ’s passion

Image: Harry Fabel, Pixabay


💛

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends
(John 15:13; NLT).

1. Welcomed by the crowds,
Who later jeered.

2. Kissed; betrayed;
Arrested, Lord, at night.

3. Deserted by your friends;
Alone; bereft.

4. Spat on, mocked, and whipped;
Accusers lied.

5. Judged unjustly;
Sentenced, and condemned.

6. Burdened by your cross,
As women grieved.

7. Crucified by guards,
Whom you forgave:

8. In agony, and anguish, Lord,
You died.

💛


References

1. The next day, the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!” (John 12:12-13; NIV).

The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!” (Matthew 27:40; NLT).

2. The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss” (Matthew 26:48; NLT).

Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him (Matthew 26:50; NLT).

3. Then all his disciples deserted him and ran away (Mark 14:50; NLT).

4. They spat on him and took the staff and struck him repeatedly on the head (Matthew 27:30; NET).

Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” (Matthew 27:29; NLT).

He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip (Mark 15:15; NLT).

Many false witnesses spoke against him, but they contradicted each other (Mark 14:56; NLT).

5. The leading priests stirred up the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus. Pilate asked them, “Then what should I do with this man you call the king of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” (Mark 15:12-13; NLT).

He […] turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified (Mark 15:15; NLT).

6. Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (John 19:17; NLT).

A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women (Luke 23:27; NLT).

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

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34; NLT).

8. My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth (Psalm 22:14-15; NLT).

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

Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last (Mark 15:37; NLT).