30.11.22: Time

Context: A few days ago I woke early, giving me the luxury of time to spend with Jesus, and out of that time, this little prayer gently arose:

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed (Mark 1:35; NIV). 

It’s good to lie awake with you, Lord Jesus,
To pray, and reunite, and hear your voice.

It’s good to share this time with you, Lord Jesus:
Despite my trials and sorrows, to rejoice. 

It’s good to say I’m sorry, ask forgiveness,
And beg you, Lord, to help us live in peace.

It’s good to spend this time alone with you, Lord,
Until the day when time, for me, will cease. 

Behold, I am with you every day, even unto the end of time (Matthew 28:20; ABPE).


References 

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33; NLT).

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:27; NLT). 

The Lord is peace (Judges 6:24; 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). 

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

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). 

7.11.22: God in all

Context: Last Saturday was a rare, blessed, unpressured day with no hospital appointments, and no building work taking place at home. I had breakfast in bed, followed by the luxury of a whole morning to write this prayer, which arrived soon after I woke up:

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things (Ecclesiastes 11:5; NLT).

God: in stillness, silence, darkness;
Here, in yearning –
Our unknown.

God: in worship, wonder, rapture;
Here, in bliss –
Our stepping stone.

God: in nature, labour, service;
Here, in love –
Our source, our home.

God: in weakness, envy, anger;
Here, in sin –
Our cornerstone.

God: in conflict, terror, trauma;
Here, in carnage –
Our shalom.

God: in sickness, sorrow, anguish;
Here, in pain –
Our flesh, our bone.

God: in striving, yielding, dying;
Here, in all
Our Lord, alone.

The LORD is our God, the LORD alone (Deuteronomy 6:4; NLT).


References

Stand in silence in the presence of the Sovereign LORD (Zephaniah 1:7; NLT).

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

By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made (Genesis 3:19; NLT).

The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone (Psalm 118:22; NLT).

I want your will to be done, not mine (Luke 22:42; NLT).

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

Yield yourselves to God (Romans 6:13; RSV).

Now yield and submit yourself to Him [agree with God and be conformed to His will] and be at peace (Job 22:21; AMP).

Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit (Matthew 27:50; NKJV).

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

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).


Rosary-making news:

I’m longing for the arrival of some 1mm cord from the UK. This should hopefully thread through the wooden beads I’ve already bought. At present, I only have 1.5mm cord, which is too thick to go through them. Until the thinner cord arrives, I’m limited to making necklaces and bracelets, practicing barrel knots and threading a few beads by chewing the thread. Still, today I made my first ever equal-length sliding knots.

4.11.22: Choices

Context: Yesterday morning, whilst I was writing an entirely separate prayer, the inspiration for the verses below came straight to me, without intention or effort of any kind on my part. Quickly jotting them down in rough, I was able to return to them later, and to finish working on them the same day.

Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near” (Matthew 4:17; NLT).

I turn to you, and choose your way:
Lord, help me when my love falls short.

I worship you, and choose my life:
Lord, help me when my joy falls short.

I trust in you, and choose my cross:
Lord, help me when my thanks fall short.

I hide in you, and choose my pain:
Lord, help me when my prayers fall short.

I bow to you, and choose my death:
Lord, help me when my faith falls short. 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (Psalm 23:4; KJV).


References 

The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 24; NLT).

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6; NLT).  

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). 

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NIV).

You died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3; 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).

Yield yourselves to God (Romans 6:13; RSV).

Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” (Luke 23:46; NLT). 

Then he bowed his head and released his spirit (John 19:30; NLT).


Rosary-making update:

This doesn’t look like much, but it represents a big step forward for me: my first successful pairs of sliding knots:

2.11.22: All Souls’ Day

Context: This little prayer came to me on 28.10.22, well before I consciously registered that All Souls’ Day was fast approaching. I had to smile at God’s advance planning! It forms a pair with yesterday’s blog (https://wp.me/p45bCr-cIe).

The Messiah also died once for the sake of our sins, the Righteous One in the place of sinners, to bring you to God, and he died in body and lived in his Spirit. And he preached to those souls who were held in Sheol, those who from the first were not convinced (1 Peter 3; 18-19; PHBT).

Lord,

Heal the souls
Of all the dead –

Don’t punish them:
Forgive, I beg.

Lord, surely
They have cried

Enough? Your arms
Are open wide,

For you, alone,
Are love and grace:

Please welcome all
With your embrace.

I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.” So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him (Luke 15:18-20; NLT). 

References

The Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost (Luke 19:10; NLT).

God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth (1 Timothy 2:4; CEV).

Then I called on the name of Yahweh: “Yahweh, I beg you, deliver my soul” (Psalm 116:4; WEB).

God is love (1 John 4:16; NLT).

By God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone (Hebrews 2:9; NLT).


First reading: Psalm 16:7-11; NLT

I will bless the LORD who guides me;
Even at night my heart instructs me.
I know the LORD is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
My body rests in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead
Or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
You will show me the way of life,
Granting me the joy of your presence
And the pleasures of living with you forever.

Second reading: Psalm 103:1-4; NLT

Let all that I am praise the LORD;
With my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the LORD;
May I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death,

And crowns me with love and tender mercies.


Rosary-making update:

26.10.22: Inner peace

Context: I prepared this blog yesterday at London City Airport, whilst waiting for my flight home, and with a migraine. These hospital trips are well beyond my physical and mental coping ability now, so I’m deeply hoping I won’t have to go again. On the plus side, I’ve met with nothing but friendliness and kindness, and seen how amazingly different people’s lives are in London, compared to my quiet island life.

Anyway, I dipped into my storehouse for this short poem, which arrived a few days ago:

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:27; NLT). 

Peace in sickness,
And in pain.

Peace in sorrow,
And in loss.

Peace in anguish,
And in fear.

Peace in dying:
You are here.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (Psalm 23:4; KJV).


References

He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm (Mark 4:39; KJV). 

Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20; NLT). 

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