20.10.22: God’s will


Context:
Yesterday I went into town to do a small amount of shopping and have my covid booster. It was diverting at the time, but afterwards I was absolutely exhausted. It can still sometimes come as a shock to realise how limited I am now in terms of what I can do.

After a long sleep in the afternoon, I tried to work on what I had been given when I woke up that morning. However, I was too tired to make any progress with it. So here is a prayer from my storehouse, instead:

“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).

You came to do the Father’s will
Because you trusted in God’s name.

You wanted to forgive my sins,
To heal my guilt, and end my shame.

So, Lord, you lived and died for me,
Because you shared the Father’s aim:

To spread his love and tender care –
Please help me, now, to do the same.

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same” (Luke 10:36-7; NLT).

10.10.22: Safe

Context: The day before yesterday, whilst praying, I was given a group of phrases to reflect on. There were too many to list them all here, so I’ve chosen just those which turned out to be most relevant to today:

The garden of God
The river of God
The glory of God
The presence of God
The mercy of God
The power of God
The darkness of God
The Spirit of God

I had no idea how to use this list in a blog, so thought no more about it after writing it down.

Next morning I looked at the list again, but was still no wiser about its purpose.

However, when I was praying, I saw that there is no need to worry when inspiration doesn’t arrive. Instead, I can trust God to give me the raw materials for each day’s blog when the time is right.

Then, two or three hours later, to my great surprise, I was given the following poem:

YHWH took the earth creature and settled it in the garden of Eden so that it might cultivate and care for the land (Genesis 2:15; TIB). 

I’m walking in Eden,
Beside a great river,
Safe in your glorious presence,
Lord God.

I’m walking in exile,
With sorrow and anguish,
Safe, through your mercy and power,
Lord God.

I’m walking death’s valley,
With faith and acceptance,
Safe by your side, in the darkness,
Lord God.

I’m walking in heaven, 
At one with your Spirit,
Safe now, forever,
My Lord and my God. 

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

Faith and hope

Context: Yesterday, after praying for others, there was nothing else I needed to say, so I fell silent. This time of wordless communion was eventually brought to an end by the arrival of today’s blog. It was easy to grasp, but extremely hard to put into words, perhaps because I’m still very tired after my journey back from the UK. 


Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love (Romans 5:2-5; NLT).

Lord,
Once I have prayed for others,
Faith and hope remain,
And, when I am sick and weary,
Patience will sustain.

Lord,
Once I have said I’m sorry,
Love and peace abide,
And, when I request forgiveness,
Mercy will provide.

Lord,
Once I have asked your blessing,
Bounty is assured,
And, when I accept your wishes,
All can be endured.

Lord,
Though I have tried my hardest,
I have often failed,
Yet, when you receive my soul,
I’ll see your face, unveiled.


References

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

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known (1 Corinthians 13:12; KJV). 

We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18; NKJV). 

Jesus

Context: As soon as I woke up in my own familiar bedroom yesterday morning, I received today’s prayer with an indescribable sense of peace, gratitude and joy:

I am with you at all times, even to the end of the world.
(Matthew 28:20; HNT). 

Jesus Christ is here today,
Tomorrow and for evermore,

Bringing liberty for captives,
Giving good news to the poor;

Forgiving sins and healing blindness,
Setting free the long-oppressed, 

Crowning us with love and mercy,
Saving all from sin and death.

Thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:57; NLT).


References

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8; NLT).

The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come (Luke 4:18-19; NLT). 

He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things (Psalm 103:3-5; NLT). 

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

Thine, the kingdom

Context: I woke at 6am, began to pray, and immediately had to catch hold of today’s prayer. To my delight, it flowed easily, and wasn’t too exhausting to write. After that I slept and woke, slept and woke, until 10am.

My first morning in Ely meant buying some food at the outdoor market. Life here in the Fens is very different from my quiet days on the island. There were hundreds of people crowding around the stalls, talking, laughing, eating and shopping, ready to help strangers and to chat. One lovely man even told me his life-story.

By the time I got back to my flat for lunch and a rest, I was quite shaky, completely overwhelmed by all the sounds, sights, smells and colours of creation so lavishly displayed in this busy, lively town. This fitted with a theme seems to be emerging from my trip: “I will make all my goodness pass before you” (Exodus 33:19; NLT), as illustrated by today’s blog:

Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
(Matthew 6:13; KJV). 

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God,
and God in them (1 John 4:16; TIV). 

Thine, the kingdom,
Thine, the power,
Thine, the glory,
Thine, the love,

Thine, the mercy,
Thine, the giving,
Thine, the saving:
God above.

Mine, the weakness,
Mine, the failure;
Mine, the darkness,
Mine, the sin,

Mine, the longing,
Mine, the searching,
Mine, the finding:
God within.

You will seek me and find me,
when you search for me with all your heart.
(Jeremiah 29:13; NKJV). 

You are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
(2 Corinthians 6:16; NKJV). 

Not enough silence

Context: After about three hours of very concentrated writing in bed, I began to surface into awareness of my body and my surroundings. I was just saying (slightly self-pityingly), to God that I never have enough time to pray, and that even a lifetime isn’t nearly enough, when I saw how different this will be in heaven. There, I will have all eternity to lose myself entirely in worship, without any distractions or responsibilities.

Then, the very next moment, it came to me that when I’m worshipping here, on earth, I’m temporarily experiencing heaven, and sharing the bliss of unending oneness with God. This oneness is the same on earth as it is in heaven, so heaven is now. Today’s prayer hit me in an instant, like an arrow reaching its target. I scribbled it down, then had to get up and start engaging with the day. I still didn’t have enough time to pray undisturbed!

NB: Writing this sparked off another prayer, which I hope to post tomorrow, God willing.

In my heart, I am thirsty for you, the living God.
When will I see your face? (Psalm 42:2; CEV).

Not enough silence,
And not enough stillness.
Not enough solitude.
Not enough time…

Suddenly: Heaven
Unbounded, united
In mercy and love:
I am yours, You are mine.

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.
(Song of Songs 6:3; NIV). 

Jesus

They laid them all before Jesus, and he healed them all
(Matthew 15:30; NLT). 

Jesus, 

1. May your healing hand
Touch all of us today,

2. Your mercy and forgiveness
Show everyone the way;

3. Your blessed Holy Spirit
Help all the world to pray,

4. Your light and your example,
Bring back all those who stray.

I will search for my lost ones who strayed away,
and I will bring them safely home again
(Ezekiel 34:16; NLT).


References

1. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus (Acts 4:30; NLT).

2. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against him (Daniel 9:9; NKJV). 

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 (Romans 8:26; NRSV).

4. I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life (John 8:12; NLT).

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God (Ephesians 5:2; NLT). 

World-wide justice

Don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.
(1 Peter 2:16; NLT). 

Let true justice prevail (Deuteronomy 16:20; NLT). 

1. We pray for world-wide justice, Lord:
For shame about the lies we’ve spun;
For confession, and contrition
As we weep for what we’ve done.

2. We pray for widespread mercy, Lord:
For sorrow that we’ve used brute force;
For repentance, and forgiveness
As we face our deep remorse.

3. We pray for global fairness, Lord:
For readiness to love our foe;
For penance, and for reparation
As we pay back all we owe.

4. We pray for perfect wisdom, Lord:
For faith and hope; an end to war;
For reconciliation, truth
And peace on earth, for evermore.

The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war any more (Isaiah 2:4; NLT).  

You have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end (Isaiah 9:4-7; NIV).


Close your eyes

The Lord is full of tenderness and mercy (James 5:11; NLT). 

1. Close your eyes to seek Christ’s face:
Full of mercy, light and grace.

2. Lift your gaze to catch his smile:
He won’t censure or revile.

3. Look at him, and watch his love
Pouring down from heaven above.

4. Talk with Christ; ask him to heal:
He will know just how you feel.

5. Your faith, your doubts, your hopes, your fears,
Your suffering throughout the years –

6. He sees, and knows, and shares them all:
Each loss, each pain, each grief, each fall.

7. He sees, and knows, and shares each one:
Our Lord, who died for us – God’s Son.

8. At last, receive his healing touch:
Rejoice! He loves you very much.

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


References

1. I will see you face to face (Psalm 17:15; NLT). 

2. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities (Psalm 103:8-10; NIV).

3. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39; NLT).

4. I love the Lord because he hears my voice (Psalm 116:1; NLT).

5. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all the same testings we do (Hebrews 4:15; NLT).  

6. O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me (Psalm 139:1; NLT).

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

God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were sinners (Romans 5:8; NLT).

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

 


 

My heartfelt prayer

Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee.
(Psalm 102:1; KJV).

1. Hear my heartfelt prayer, Lord God:
End our greed and hatred.
Take away our minds of stone,
And make our thinking like your own:
Loving; joyous; full of peace –
Help us, I implore you.

2. Hear my earnest prayer, Lord God:
Turn us from all evil.
Take away our hearts of stone,
And make our passions like your own:
Patient; kindly; generous –
Till everyone adores you. 

3. Hear my urgent prayer, Lord God:
Forgive our sins; have mercy.
Take away our souls of stone,
And give us spirits like your own:
Faithful; gentle; self-controlled –
Then all will bow before you.  

🖤

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-3; NRSV).

Bow down and worship the Lord (Ezekiel 46:3; NLT).

 


References

1. The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on the Lord (Psalm 14:2-4; NIV).

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

All of you should be of one mind. Sympathise with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it (1 Peter 3:8-9; NLT).

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

I will give you a new heart … I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26; NIV).

I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever (Jeremiah 32:39; NLT).

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things (1 Chronicles 29:11; NLT). 

3. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously (Isaiah 55:7; NLT). 

I will …put a new spirit in you (Ezekiel 36:26; NIV).

We have all been baptised into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13. NLT).

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).