Jesus

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1. Jesus is my Lord and God,
My comforter when I am sad;
Brother, sister, father, mother:
All the love I never had.

2. Jesus is my watchful shepherd,
Teacher, master, mountain guide;
Friend in need, defence in trouble:
He is always at my side.

3. Jesus is my close companion,
Strong support when I’m afraid;
Sword and shield when I’m in danger:
Rescuer when I have strayed.

4. Jesus is my paragon,
My light along the narrow way;
Bread, wine, water; truth, and life:
My inspiration, every day.

 


References

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

Worship Christ as Lord of your life (1 Peter 3:15; NLT)

The Father and I are one (John 10:30; NLT).

I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, [Comforter, Encourager, Counsellor] who will never leave you (John 14:16; NLT).

Jesus replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? Then he looked around him and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:33-5; NLT).

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

2. I am the good shepherd (John 10:14; NLT).

Since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you (John 13:14-15; NLT).

3. The Lord will guide you continually (Isaiah 58:11; NLT).

The Lord is a friend to those who fear him (Psalm 25:14; NLT).

He is your protecting shield and your triumphant sword! (Deuteronomy 33:29; NLT).

I will be glad because he rescues me (Psalm 35:9; NLT).

If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders (Luke 15:4-5; NLT).

4. 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).

I am the light of the world (John 9:5; NLT).

Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14; NIV).

He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:19-20; NIV).

Rivers of living water will flow from his heart (John 7:38; NLT).

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

Just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him (Colossians 2:6; CSB).

Jesus is my gospel

Image: John Woodman


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

1. Jesus is my gospel,
My way, and my good news;
Jesus is the Word of God:
My Lord, the One I choose.

2. Jesus is my shepherd,
My truth, my sword, my shield;
Jesus is my living bread:
In him, God is revealed.

3. Jesus is my spirit,
My mind, my heart, my soul;
Jesus is my life, and death:
Through him, God makes me whole.

 


References

1. Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my Gospel (2 Timothy 2:8; NIV).

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

This is the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God (Mark 1:1; NLT).

His name is the Word of God (Revelation 19:13; NIV).

Choose today whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15; NLT).

2. I am the good shepherd (John 10:14; NLT).

Jesus told him, “I am […] the truth” (John 14:6; NLT).

He is your protecting shield and your triumphant sword (Deuteronomy 33:29; NLT).

I am the living bread (John 6:51; NLT).

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15; NLT).

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being (Hebrews 1:3; NIV).

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

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned to the Jordan River (Luke 4:1; NLT).

I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised (Luke 24:49; NLT).

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

If we die with him, we will also live with him (2 Timothy 2:11; NLT).

He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5; RSV).

Shalom (peace)

Image: foreverpainter, Pixabay


He is our shalom (Ephesians 2:14; HNV).

1. To say: I love you, Father,
Is the same as: You love me,
Since time began.

2. To say: I love you, Jesus,
Is the same as: You love me,
Dear Son of Man.

3. To say: I love you, Spirit,
Is the same as: You love me,
For I’m your home.

4. To say: I love you, God of Peace,
Is just the same as: You love me,
Shalom!

 


References

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

The Father himself loves you dearly (John 16:26; NLT).

I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5; NLT).

2. The Son of Man is Lord (Matthew 12:8; NLT).

You are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; NLT).

3. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19; NLT).

4. The God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:9; NLT).

He is our shalom (Ephesians 2:14; HNV).

Critical mass

Image: Francesco Alberti, Unsplash


Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other
(Isaiah 45:22; NIV).

1. Lord Jesus,
May so many give up sinning
That all the world
Will glimpse your shining presence.

2. Lord Jesus,
May so many seek forgiveness
That all the world
Will learn to live in peace.

3. Lord Jesus,
May so many find salvation
That all the world
Will listen to your teaching.

4. Lord Jesus,
May so many grow to love you
That all the world
Will come to share your feast.

 


References

1. Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all (1 Corinthians 15:34; NLT).

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

I am the light of the world (John 8:12; NLT).

2. Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you (Acts 13:38; NIV).

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34:14; NLT).

In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all (Isaiah 11:6; NLT).

They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9; NIV).

He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more (Isaiah 2:4; KJV).

3. Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other (Isaiah 45:22; NLT).

All the people will see the salvation sent from God (Luke 3:6; NLT).

The grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people (Titus 2:11; NLT).

This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him (Mark 9:7; NLT).

4. The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord (Isaiah 11:9; NIV).

People will come from all over the world – from east and west, north and south – to take their places in the Kingdom of God (Luke 13:29; NLT).

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world (Isaiah 25:6; NLT).

My action plan

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Introduction

On 19.8.20. I posted an article called “My dilemma”. It described the inner conflicts I face each time someone behaves unacceptably towards me. As a Christian, should I speak out, or should I say nothing? Jesus used both of these approaches at different times in his life, so I have never been able to reach a conclusion about how I should respond.

Unfortunately, this uncertainty means that regardless of how I handle each individual situation, I ruminate for months afterwards about what happened, and whether I reacted correctly. My endless self-questioning generates a constant sense of guilt, worry and dread, which I find impossible to shake off, and which can easily lead me into depression.

Since writing that article, I have spent a lot of time praying, reflecting, and talking this issue over with others. From the insights gained, I have put together an action plan to follow next time a hurtful situation arises.

Rather than seeing my response as a straight choice between speaking out and staying silent, I am now treating it as a series of stages, each of which is open to reflection before taking any further action.

1. Withdraw, pray, reflect

So, from now on, when someone behaves unacceptably towards me, I will withdraw to sleep on what happened for at least one night, taking time out to pray and reflect before responding. This will prevent me from reacting in the heat of the moment, with a high risk of damaging both the other person, and our relationship.

2. Decide whether or not to speak out 

A. If I decide it is pointless, or inappropriate, to speak out to the person concerned, I need take the matter no further. Instead, I will work on forgiving them, and praying for them.

B. If I decide to tell the other person how their behaviour has affected me, I need to think carefully about how best to approach them, perhaps by email, text, a phone call, or by arranging a meeting. It’s important to remember that they may have had no intention at all of upsetting me, and may therefore be taken very much by surprise when I raise the subject.

3. Speak out briefly, and lovingly

If I decide to give the person feedback, I will do so as briefly and lovingly as possible. My aim will simply be to remind them of what they said or did, and to be honest about how it has hurt or disturbed me. Anything beyond this is superfluous, and risks generating angry retaliation.

4. Wait to see if there is a response

A. If the other person doesn’t respond, there is no need for me to say any more. The matter is finished, and I will let it go. Each of us is responsible for our own behaviour, and I can’t expect everyone to respond as I wish. Instead, I will focus on loving them, forgiving them, and praying for them.

B. If the other person contacts me, I will take time to consider how best to reply, depending on what they say:

i. If they take responsibility for their behaviour, and apologise, I will accept this immediately, reassuring them that I have completely forgiven them. We will be reconciled, and the whole matter will be closed.

ii. If they react hurtfully, I will withdraw, considering the matter as being finished. Anything else is pointless, and risks generating more damage. Of course, I will still forgive them, and pray for them, but I can choose not to expose myself to further hurtful behaviour, in order to protect my own mental health.

5. Start again

Finally, if, despite doing my very best, the situation doesn’t work out as I hoped, or turns out badly, I will resolve to put it behind me, and start again. Every time I find myself ruminating about what happened, I will remind myself that it’s finished. There is always more to learn in life, and I can refine my action plan in the light of each new experience.

Conclusion

Throughout my life, when anyone hurts me, I’ve never known whether I should be honest with them, or say nothing. When I say nothing, I am left with a burden of powerlessness and distress. When I speak out, and the other person reacts angrily, I am left with a burden of guilt and dread, believing that I have sinned, and that the breakdown in relationship is all my fault.

From now on, when someone hurts me, I will remind myself immediately that I always have choices about how to respond, and that I have an action plan to follow. My overall aim will be to keep a careful, Christian balance between being honest, preserving relationships, and protecting my own mental health.

Image: Mustangloe, Pixabay


Acknowledgement

My warmest thanks to all those who have engaged in discussing this issue with me, especially Alan, Dianne, and John. Your contributions have been invaluable.


References

Introduction

Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21; NIV).

If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them (Luke 17:3-4; NIV).

He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth (Isaiah 53:7; NLT).

The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me (Job 30:27; NIV).

1. Withdraw, pray, reflect

Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer (Luke 5:16; NLT).

The Lord of Hosts […] is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance (Isaiah 28:29; NKJV).

Harsh words make tempers flare (Proverbs 15:1; NLT).

Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back (Proverbs 29:11; NLT).

2. Decide whether or not to speak out

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there [and] Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:33-4; NIV).

When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:25; NLT).

3. Speak out briefly, and lovingly

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

4. Wait to see if there is a response

Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you (Luke 6:27-8; NLT).

If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them (Luke 17:3-4; NIV).

NB Matthew doesn’t mention whether the person has to say sorry or not:

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” (Matthew 18:20-21; NLT).

5. Start again

Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28-9; NLT).

I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly (Ecclesiastes 1:17; NLT).

Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord (Lamentations 3:40; KJV).

Conclusion

Be angry but do not sin (Ephesians 4:26; RSV).

I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say (Psalm 39:1; NLT).

Love your neighbour as yourself (Luke 10:27; NLT).

To acquire wisdom is to love oneself (Proverbs 19:8; NLT).

We cannot fight you


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It is useless for you to fight against my will (Acts 26:14; NLT).

1. We cannot fight you, Lord,
You’re Light,
Shining on us
Day and night.

2. We cannot fight you, Lord,
You’re Peace;
Your government
Will never cease.

3. We cannot fight you, Lord,
You’re Fire;
You send your Spirit
To inspire.

4. We cannot fight you, Lord,
You’re Truth,
Expressed in Jesus
From his youth.

5. We cannot fight you Lord,
You’re Love:
Your Kingdom come;
Your will be done.


References

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

The city does not need the sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light (Revelation 21:23; NIV).

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

His government and its peace will never end (Isaiah 9:7; NLT).

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

What looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability (Acts 2:3-4; NLT).

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

In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form (Colossians 2:9; NIV).

A child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6; NLT).

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

The Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below (Joshua 2:11; NLT).

May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10; NLT).

My dilemma

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Introduction

Two people have hurt me badly in the last few weeks. In both cases, after some thought, I was honest with those involved, expressing my response as lovingly as I could. However, they both reacted with anger and blame. Sadly, offering to meet for reconciliation has brought no response.

Since then, I repeatedly go over all that happened, which generates a constant, painful, and exhausting sense of dread.

The crux of my anxiety is that when someone hurts me, I don’t know whether I should speak out, or say nothing. Each approach has different consequences.


What did Jesus say and do?

As always, I look for guidance in Jesus’ teaching and example. However, he taught, and displayed, both outspoken and silent ways of responding to hurt and injustice, which I find confusing.

Until his arrest, Jesus always spoke the truth in love when people criticised or insulted him. He was, in fact, very direct. His honesty made him a lot of enemies, and contributed to his death.

After his arrest, Jesus said very little, no matter what he was accused of, and how he was treated. This puzzled his captors, perhaps antagonising them even more.

Over the years, I’ve tried both approaches. What happens when I follow Christ’s example in these two, very different, ways?


A. Speaking out

When I “speak the truth in love”, it almost always backfires. The person I’ve been honest with turns on me, angrily blaming me for what I said, even though it was their own hurtful behaviour towards me that I spoke about. I then react to their hostility with my characteristic chronic dread.


B. Saying nothing

When I say nothing, I simply allow the other person to hurt me, absorbing the pain and damage, just as I did with my emotionally abusive mother. Without feedback, of course, there is a risk that they may continue to damage me. This makes me feel helpless and powerless, worsening my chronic depression.

Either way, I can easily end up feeling as if life is not worth living.


Forgiveness

Fortunately, Jesus is absolutely clear that whether we speak out or say nothing, we should always forgive those who hurt us. This applies even if they never recognise what they have done, and never say they are sorry.


Conclusion

When people hurt me, I ruminate endlessly about how I responded, and what went wrong. Whether I speak out or say nothing, the outcome is equally damaging for my mental health.

Worse still, I also feel guilty for having “caused” the other person to strike back angrily at me, and to hate me from then onwards.

So, when someone hurts me, should I speak out, or say nothing? I still don’t know the answer to this question, which has plagued me all my life. All I can do is to pray for those who hurt me, asking God to guide and heal us all.

Image: Himsan, Pixabay


References

Introduction

Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me (Psalm 41:9; NLT).


What did Jesus say and do?

Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21; NIV).

You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? (Matthew 23:33; NIV).

The leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes, and Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?” But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise (Mark 15:3-5; NLT).

If you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God (Matthew 5:23-4; NLT).


A. Speaking out

Speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them (Luke 17:3-4; NIV.

The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me (Job 30:27; NIV).


B. Saying nothing

He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth (Isaiah 53:7; NLT).

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

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

Why wasn’t I buried like a stillborn child, like a baby who never lives to see the light? (Job 3:16; NLT).


Forgiveness

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there [and] Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:33-4; NIV).

When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:25; NLT).


Conclusion

Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you (Luke 6:27-8; NLT)

The Lord of Hosts […] is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance (Isaiah 28:29; NKJV).

He will heal us (Hosea 6:1; NLT).

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Cling to God

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Cling tightly to the Lord your God (Joshua 23:8; NLT).

1. Lord,
I’m in the desert.
My faith is dry as dust.
May I, like Jesus, cling to you,
So I don’t lose all trust.

2. Lord,
I’m in the foothills.
My hope is almost gone.
May I, like Jesus, cling to you,
For you, alone, are strong.

3. Lord,
I’m in the mountains.
My love is weak and thin.
May I, like Jesus, cling to you,
Though I’m weighed down by sin.

4. Lord,
I’m in the valley,
The shadowland of death.
May I, like Jesus, cling to you,
As I take my last breath.


References

1. O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1; NLT).

I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? (Psalm 56:4; NLT).

2. Our bones are dry, our hope is lost (Ezekiel 37:11; NKJV).

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. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever (Psalm 73:26; NLT).

I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me (Psalm 51:3; NIV).

4. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me (Psalm 23:4; KJV).

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

May I believe in you

Image: Pablo Juan, Pixabay


1. Lord,
May I believe in you,
Follow you,
And trust you.

2. Lord,
May I remain in you,
Worship you,
And love you.

3. Lord,
May I have faith in you,
Live in you,
And serve you.


References

1. Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29; NLT).

Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24; NLT).

Trust in God and trust also in me (John 14:1; NLT).

2. Remain in me, and I will remain in you (John 15:4; NLT).

You must worship Christ as Lord of your life (1 Peter 3:15; NLT).

May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 6:24; NLT).

3. You are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26; NLT).

His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7; NLT).

The Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God (Romans 14:17-18; NLT).

Truth

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

1. Jesus spoke the truth
In love –
It didn’t go down well

2. With Pharisees,
And Sadducees,
And those with stuff to sell

3. Inside the temple:
As he taught,
Each time he paused for breath,

4. The people he reproved
Rejected him,
And planned his death.


References

1. I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do (Matthew 21:31; NLT).

They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him (Matthew 13:57; NLT).

2. The Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority (Matthew 16:1; NLT).

My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have turned it into a den of thieves (Mark 11:17; NLT).

3,4. He taught daily in the Temple, but the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the other leaders of the people began planning how to kill him (Luke 19:47; NLT).

He came to his own people, and even they rejected him (John 1 :11; NLT).

The Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him (John 5:16; NKJV).