I seek you

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If you seek him, you will find him
(1 Chronicles 28:9; NLT).

1. Living God,
I seek you in my mind,
So I may know your presence
Every day.

2. Son of Man,
I seek you in my heart,
So we can walk together, talk,
And pray.

3. Counsellor,
I seek you in my soul,
For I can’t live without your strength
And love.

4. Lord,
May we be one for evermore,
In mind, and heart, and soul;
In flesh, and blood.


References

1. You are the temple of the living God (2 Corinthians 6:16; NLT).

All who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16; NLT).

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

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

3. The Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things (John 14:26; CSB).

You have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you (1 John 2:27; NLT).

He will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit (Ephesians 3:16; NLT).

He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love (Romans 5:5; NLT).

4. 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. […] I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one (John 17:21-22; NLT).

God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us” (Genesis 1:26; NLT).

You are the children of the living God (Hosea 1:10; NLT).

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

I will give them one heart (Jeremiah 32:39; NLT).

We all share the same Spirit 1 Corinthians 12:13; NLT).

There is one body (Ephesians 4:4; NLT).

In Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body (Colossians 2:9; NLT).

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).

Love God

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Never give up (Luke 18:1; NLT).

1. Love God,
Even when you cannot find him.

2. Worship,
Even when you cannot pray.

3. Listen,
Even when you cannot hear him.

4. Follow,
Even when you’ve lost your way.


References

1. 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).

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? (Psalm 22:1; NLT).

2. Worship only God (Revelation 22:3; NLT).

The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words (Romans 8:26; NLT).

3. Listen to his voice (Deuteronomy 13:4; NLT).

Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer (Psalm 22:2; NLT).

4. Follow me (Luke 9:23; NLT).

They have lost their way (Jeremiah 50:6; NLT).

God is love

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You are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful,
slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love
(Nehemiah 9:17; NLT).

1. God is shelter, and space;
Mercy, and grace;

2. Forgiveness, and care;
Wrathful, yet fair;

3. Salvation, and might;
Darkness, and light;

4. Tumult, and peace;
God is love, without cease.


References

1. All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 36:7; NLT).

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1; NLT).

There is […] one God and Father, who is over all, and in all, and living through all (Ephesians 4:5-6; NLT).

2. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies (Psalm 103:2-4; NLT).

God is a raging fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; ESV). 

Everything he does is just and fair (Deuteronomy 32:4; NLT).

3. The Lord is my light and my salvation (Psalm 27:1; NLT).

He shrouded himself in darkness (Psalm 18:11; NLT).

4. I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me (Psalm 42:7; NLT).

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

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

Trek

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Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love –
and the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13; NLT).

1. Life is a trek
Back to heaven.

2. Faith is a journey
To God.

3. Hope is a walk
With his Spirit.

4. Love is the path
That Christ trod.


References

1. The dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NLT).

2. We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7; NKJV).

The Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith (Romans 1:17; NLT).

3. You will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13; NLT).

4. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children, and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:2; NIV).

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

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

May I serve you

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He has planted eternity in the human heart,
but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work
from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes 3:11; NLT).

1. May I serve you
Somehow, Lord, today.
Yet, if I cannot serve,
Help me to pray;
Or, if I cannot pray,
To feel you near.

2. But, if I cannot sense you,
I’ll wait here
As patiently, and calmly
As I can,
For you are God, unchanged
Since time began.


References

1. You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him (Luke 4:8; NLT).

Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).

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

2. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him (Psalm 37:7; NIV).

I have calmed and quieted myself (Psalm 131:2; NLT).

I am the Lord your God (Hosea 12:9; NKJV).

I am the Lord, and I do not change (Malachi 3:6; NLT)

Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God (Psalm 90:2; NLT). 

All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time (Jude 1:25; NLT).

Everything is holy

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Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory 

(Isaiah 6:3; NKJV).

1. All we see is holy,
For God fashions everything;
And all we touch is holy,
For it all belongs to him.

2. All we grow is holy,
For he’s over all he makes;
And all we eat is holy,
For he’s in all he creates.

3. All we use is holy,
For God lives through all there is;
And those we meet are holy,
For all of us are his.

4. All we are is holy,
For he shapes us with his love;
And all we bear is holy,
For the Lord makes all things good.

5. So let us thank the Father:
Give him glory – he is King;
For heaven and earth are holy,
And all things come from him.


References

1. My hands have made both heaven and earth; they, and everything in them are mine. I the Lord, have spoken! (Isaiah 66:2; NLT).

2. There is […] one God and Father, who is over all, and in all…

He declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes (Mark 7:19; NLT).

3. …and living through all (Ephesians 4:5-6; NLT).

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

4. You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy (Leviticus 20:26; NIV).

He fashions their hearts individually (Psalm 33:15; NKJV).

I send good times and bad times (Isaiah 45:7; NLT).

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

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

5. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you (1 Thessalonians 5:18; NLT).

Glorify the Lord (Psalm 147:12; NLT).

The Lord is the only true God. He is the living God and the everlasting King! (Jeremiah 10:10; NLT).

A person can receive only what is given them from heaven (John 3:27; NIV).

I live in you

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All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God
have God living in them, and they live in God
(1 John 4:15; NLT).

1. Lord, my God,
I live in you,
Believe in you,
And trust in you.

2. Lord, my God,
You live in me,
Deliver me,
And comfort me.

3. Lord, my God,
I’m one with you,
Rejoice in you,
And worship you.

4. Lord, my God,
You’re one with me,
Delight in me,
And care for me.


References

1. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them (1 John 4:16; NIV).

Believe in the Lord your God (2 Chronicles 17:14; NLT).

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

2. You are my father, my God, and the protector who delivers me (Psalm 89:26; NET).

You, O Lord, help and comfort me (Psalm 86:17; NLT).

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

Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord (Philippians 3:1; NLT).

Worship the Lord in all his holy splendour (1 Chronicles 16:29; NLT).

4. He delights in me (2 Samuel 22:20; NLT).

I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you (Hosea 14:8; NLT).

A letter (with thanks to M.R.)

Image: Ulrike Mai, Pixabay

Trigger alert
Today’s blog is about emotional abuse, and its consequences.

Introduction
The following quotation sets the scene, though its relevance might not be clear until you have read the whole article:

Turn your steps towards these everlasting ruins, all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary. Your foes roared in the places where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs. They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees. They smashed all the carved panelling with their axes and hatchets. They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name. They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!” They burned every place where God was worshipped in the land (Psalm 74:3-8; NIV).

An open letter to my mother
Mother, despite claiming to love me, you established control over me from my early childhood onwards. You did this through scorn, criticism, bullying, condemnation, rage, and bouts of violent destructiveness. These behaviours made me fear you deeply. I lived in dread of your next outburst.

You continued to maintain control over me during my teenage years and adulthood, too, using intrusion, disapproval, and anger when I dared to express personal feelings, thoughts or beliefs you didn’t like. Similarly, you reacted with fury and threats of coercion if I tried to make my own decisions about what I wanted to do with my life. When I made mistakes, or got things wrong, you never forgave me, or forgot it. All this made me dread seeing you and spending time with you. I particularly hated the sound of your voice, and loathed you touching me, but was afraid to stand up to you, or to say “no”.

Your ways of controlling me have had severe, pervasive, long-term consequences for my mental health, in the form of low self-esteem, anxiety, dread, panic attacks and agoraphobia. I have also had to cope with a constant sense of not wanting to be alive, with chronic depression, and with episodes of acute depression. Furthermore, one question has always preyed on my mind:

How could you say you loved me, yet behave as you did towards me?

It didn’t make sense. I just couldn’t square what you said with what I experienced.

Then, on the 24th of May, 2020, a friend sent me a message she had seen on a Facebook site about domestic abuse. It read:

It’s not CONSENT if you make me afraid to say no.

I stared at these words, instantly electrified by their brevity, clarity and profound truth. Within seconds, a personal variation flashed into my mind:

It’s not LOVE if you make me afraid to say no.

Deeply stirred by this insight, further phrases began tumbling out of my unconscious mind. Here are just a few examples:

It’s not love if you make me afraid to disagree.

It’s not love if you criticise me all the time.

It’s not love if you make me afraid to be myself.

It’s not love if you make me afraid to choose for myself.

It’s not love if you belittle my achievements.

It’s not love if you only approve of me when I behave like you.

At last, in my late sixties, my friend’s message had given me the answer to my question: your behaviour towards me shows clearly that you did not, in fact, love me in any meaningful way at all.

This shocking realisation made me consider what kinds of behaviour do, in fact, reflect and express genuine love. Here are the best answers I’ve found so far:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, or boastful, or proud, or rude. It does not demand its own way (1 Corinthians 13:4-5; NLT).

It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5; NIV).

I know that none of us is perfect, mother, but when I confronted you, you could at least have admitted what you did to me, and said you were sorry. Over the years, I managed to raise the subject of your behaviour with you several times, always at huge personal cost. However, you never responded with genuine understanding or honesty, instead always trying to justify, minimise, or deny what you had done.

For many years now, I have worked hard to forgive you. Sometimes I even think I’ve succeeded. Fortunately, God understands and accepts the intense anger and bitterness that can still occasionally emerge from my mind, heart and soul. Slowly, gently, he gives me the insights I need in order to be healed, for which I am profoundly thankful.

Ruth.


References

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other (Romans 12:9; NLT).

Do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them (Ephesians 6:4; NLT).

I am the Lord, who heals you (Exodus 15:27; NIV).

To sit alone

Image: Free-Photos, Pixabay

1. To sit alone
With you
Is to be one, Lord.

2. To walk with you
In darkness
Is to see.

3. To live with you
In silence
Is to pray, Lord.

4. To rest with you
In stillness
Is to be.


References

1. Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray (Mark 1:35; NLT).

When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private (Matthew 6:6; NLT).

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

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

You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light (2 Samuel 22:29; NLT).

To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you (Psalm 139:12; NLT).

3. Be silent before the Sovereign Lord (Zephaniah 1:7; NIV).

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

I know everything that comes into your minds (Ezekiel 11:5; NLT).

He knows the secrets of every heart (Psalm 44:21; NLT).

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

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1; NLT).

Firestorm

God is great (Psalm 70:4; NLT).

1. God is great:
His firestorm
Consumes our hatred, rage, and scorn.

2. God is strong:
His blinding light
Dazzles our weak, human sight.

3. God is good:
His perfect peace
Brings us joy that will not cease.

4. God is wise:
His sacred truth
Kindles insight from our youth.

5. God is kind:
His endless love
Flows from heaven, in Christ’s blood.

6. God is close:
His still, small voice
Helps us with each painful choice.

7. God is here:
His gentle breath
Sustains us all from birth to death.


References

1. God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; NIV). 

2. God is light (1 John 1:5; NIV).


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

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

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

6. Call on him now while he is near (Isaiah 55:6; NLT).

7. God is with us (Matthew 1:23; NLT).