16.9.22: Light and darkness (with thanks to KB)

Context: This blog arrived yesterday morning, whilst I was exchanging messages with a friend. It simply formed in my mind as I began to respond. By the time I had put it into words, I realised I needed to hold on to what I had written, so I copied and pasted it into my spiritual diary. Here is the result:

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

Lord, you are light, and you live in the darkness of my unconscious mind (see reference #1).

Constantly present there, you move mysteriously in the depths, patiently revealing, insight by insight, all that is hidden within me, especially all that needs healing (2).

As long as I keep on searching, waiting, looking, listening, learning, changing and growing, you keep on revealing more and more, slowly bringing everything about me into the light (3). 

Through this life-long process, you are healing all the physical, mental and emotional damage caused by my abusive childhood (4).

Thank you so much for everything you show me, Lord, for all your love, help, and healing.

I offer this prayer through your dear Son’s name.

Amen.


References

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

Clouds and thick darkness surround him (Psalm 97:2; NIV).

He shrouded himself in darkness (2 Samuel 22:12; NLT). 

2. We are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:16; NLT).

You cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things (Ecclesiastes 11:5; NLT). 

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

He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness (Daniel 2:22; NLT).

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

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened (Luke 11:9-10; NLT). 

4. I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15:26; NLT).

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).

15.9.22: Inner healing

This short prayer came to me when I woke up, a day or two ago:

O Lord, you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness (2 Samuel 22:29; NLT). 

Lord, I am your temple (1). 

You live in my inner darkness, and know all the secrets of my heart (2). 

Please reveal to me everything hidden in darkest depths of my unconscious mind (3).

Please help me to work on all the damage, as it surfaces bit by bit, so I can be healed (4).

But, Lord, is it possible that amongst all my inner wounds and scars, some good things lie hidden there as well? (5).

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).

References 

1. We are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:16; NLT). 

2. Clouds and thick darkness surround him (Psalm 97:2; NIV).

He shrouded himself in darkness (2 Samuel 22:12; NLT). 

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

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

3. It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you (Mark 7:20-23; NLT). 

He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness (Daniel 2:22; NLT).

4. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds (Hosea 6:1; NIV).

5. Every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old (Matthew 13:52; NIV). 

8.9.22: Starting afresh

Today is my 70th birthday, and it marks a fresh start here on my blog, as outlined yesterday (https://wp.me/p45bCr-cbb). From today, until a review in one month’s time, I will be sharing much more directly what God gives me, without trying to shape it into poetry or articles. Instead, my blogs will take the form of an honest daily, spiritual diary.

Hopefully, this change will enable me to continue communicating with you, whilst reducing my workload appropriately as my health deteriorates. Introducing this change is exciting, and makes me feel much more optimistic about the future, no matter what it may hold. So, here is the first entry in my new spiritual diary.

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” (Genesis 28:16; NLT).

Lord, please help me to remember that I live in your presence. I want to be conscious of your nearness, day and night.

As I get older, you’re slowly revealing the contents of my unconscious mind. Please help me to learn from all you show me. Thank you for everything you bring out of my inner darkness. By the time I die, I want to have discovered, faced and accepted as many as possible of the treasures hidden there, however challenging this process may be.

Help me to shine as a beacon of your love wherever I am and in all circumstances, confident that everything is just as you wish it to be. May I learn from all I experience.

Lord, my life here is an exile and a pilgrimage. Whatever happens, please help me to keep on heading back home to you, whilst doing what I can to serve those I encounter along the way. Thank you for taking care of everything else.

I ask all this in your dear Son’s name. Amen.

I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches from secret places so that you may know that I am the Lord (Isaiah 45:3; CSB).

He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness (Daniel 2:22; NLT).

My flesh, my blood


Context:
Yesterday I stirred at 6am, and all I wanted was to go back to sleep. My bed was blissfully warm and comfortable, but today’s prayer began to nag insistently in my mind until I forced myself to wake fully and discover what it wanted to say. To my great surprise, it turned out to be this wide-awake, effervescent song of praise:

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

1. My Lord, my God; my flesh, my blood:
You fill my body with your love.

2. My Lord, my God; my bread, my wine:
You make my sinful mind your shrine.

3. My Lord, my God, my strength, my prayer:
You teach my hard, cold heart to care.

4. My Lord, my God, my sword, my shield:
You touch my soul, and I am healed. 

5. My Lord, my God, my everything:
You make my spirit dance and sing!

People in Zion will dance as they sing,
“Everything I am has its source in you.”
(Psalm 87:7; TIB).


References 

1. If you don’t eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Chosen One, you won’t have life in you. Those who do eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Everyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I live in them (John 6:53-6; TIB).

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). 

2. As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body” (Matthew 26:26; NLT).

He took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many (Matthew 26:27-8; NLT).

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

3. The LORD GOD is my strength and my song (Isaiah 12:2; NLT). 

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you (Ezekiel 36:26; NIV). 

4. He is your protecting shield and your triumphant sword! (Psalm 28:7; NLT).

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

5. I pray to you, O LORD. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life (Psalm 142:5; NLT).

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 3:8-9; NLT). 

The LORD is my strength and my song (Exodus 15:2; NLT). 

Let them praise God’s Name with festive dance; let them sing praise (Psalm 149:3; TIB).  

You forgive and forget

Context: Today I’m writing an article I was given this morning to work on. I’m very tired, and have had a small eye surgery, so it’s not finished yet. Accordingly, I have brought out of my “storeroom” a blog I got ready a little while ago (see Matthew 13:52, for the allusion).


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).

I will forgive their sins and forget the evil things
they have done (Jeremiah 31:34; CEV).  

I love you, Lord, with all my mind,
And honour you within,
Because you pardon me each day,
Forgetting all my sin.

I love you, Lord, with all my heart,
And glory in your name,
Because you pardon me each day,
Forgetting all my shame.

I love you, Lord, with all my soul,
And follow you, my Guide,
Because you pardon me each day,
Forgetting all my pride. 

I love you, Lord, with all my strength,
And put my trust in you –
Please help me, Lord, to show my love
In everything I do. 

Do everything with love (1 Corinthians 16:14; NLT).

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers
and sisters of mine, you did for me.
(Matthew 25:40; NIV).

When my mind is closed

They have closed their minds and hardened their hearts
(Ephesians 4:18; NLT).

Yahweh,
When my mind is closed,
Remind me how, when Jesus rose,
He came to Mary, and to those
Who trusted.

Yahweh,
When my heart is hard,
Please show me how my way is barred
By prejudice; your face, marred
By my judgements.

Yahweh,
When I start to preach,
May I remember what you teach:
Love everyone, and help me reach
Your standard.

This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ (Ephesians 4:13; NLT).


References 

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you (1 Thessalonians 3:12; NIV). 

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbour as yourself (Leviticus 19:18; NLT).

Love the stranger (Deuteronomy 10:19; NKJV).

Show love to foreigners (Deuteronomy 10:19; NLT).

Love your enemies (Matthew 5:44; NLT).

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

Nothing

Context: When this little prayer arrived yesterday, I scribbled it down, then had to get up early to go into town. My aim was to tackle my most feared  department store lift (see yesterday’s blog).

After four rides in 2 different lifts, I was absolutely exhausted. During the afternoon and evening, I fell asleep repeatedly whilst working on the morning’s notes, not finishing work on them until after 11.30pm. Here is the result:

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). 

Nothing comes between us, Lord,
And nothing blocks our way.

We share unbroken unity;
We walk, and talk, and pray.

Our friendship has no start, no end
On earth, in heaven above,

In mind or heart, in life or death:
For we are one in love.

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


References 

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 3:8-9; NLT).

So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God (Romans 5:11; NLT).

You are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me (John 15:15; NLT). 

Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord (Romans 14:8; NLT).

Those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life (John 5:24; NLT).

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

Reflection (#2 of 2)

Context: Following “Recognition” (https://wp.me/p45bCr-bv0), which I posted yesterday, this is the second of two linked prayers that arrived in the night, following a challenging treatment session with my pain consultant.


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

Jesus,

May I seek and find you:
In my mind, and heart and soul.
Please transform me, day by day, Lord:
In my mind, and heart and soul,

Till I grow much more like you, Lord:
In my mind, and heart and soul;
Then I will reflect the glory
Of your mind, and heart and soul.

Humankind was created as God’s reflection: in the divine image God created them; female and male, God made them (Genesis 1:27; NLT).


References 

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

Jesus replied, “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind” (Matthew 22:37; NLT).

Whenever anyone turns to our God, the veil is removed. Now our God is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of our God is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces reflect our God’s glory, grow brighter and brighter as we are being transformed into the image we reflect. This is the work of our God, who is Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:16-18; TIV). 

Eternity is now

God has made everything beautiful for its own time. 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). 

Eternity is now,
Forever,
All around me
And within,
Despite my flaws
And weaknesses;
Despite my ignorance
And sin.

For you, Lord, live
Forever,
Here within my flesh, mind, heart
And soul.
You heal, forgive
And set me free;
You comfort, love
And make me whole.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But 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 53:4-5; RSV).


References 

From eternity to eternity I am God (Isaiah 43:13; NLT). 

One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you” (Luke17:20-21; NLT). 

Jesus lives forever (Hebrews 7:24; NLT). 

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

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

Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord (Romans 14:8; NLT). 

Don’t force your prayers

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion
(Ephesians 6:18; NLT). 

1. Don’t force your prayers –
Just be yourself,
And let the Spirit speak.
Remember:
God loves honesty,
And doesn’t want technique.

2. Pour out your heart
To God within –
Use many words, or few.
Remember:
He loves honesty,
So only say what’s true.

3. God knows what’s in
Your mind and heart;
He knows what’s in your soul.
He listens, cares,
And weeps upon your wounds
To make you whole.

He bruises, but he binds up; he wounds, but his hands make whole
(Job 5:18; NKJV).

References 

1. The Spirit, too, comes to help us in our weakness. For we don’t know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit expresses our plea with groanings too deep for words. And God, who knows everything in our hearts, knows perfectly well what the Spirit is saying, because her intercessions for God’s holy people are made according to the mind of God (Romans 8:26-7; TIB).

You desire honesty from the womb (Psalm 51:6; NLT).

2. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge (Psalm 62:8; NLT).

You are the temple of the living God (Luke 17:21; NKJV). 

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

Pray about everything (Philippians 4:6; NLT).

When you pray, do not use a lot of meaningless words, as the pagans do, who think that their gods will hear them because their prayers are long. Do not be like them. Your Father already knows what you need before you ask him (Matthew 6:7-8; GNT).

Let your words be few (Ecclesiastes 5:2; NLT).

Be silent before the Lord (Zechariah 2:13; NLT). 

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

People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7; NIV).

If you say, “Look here, we didn’t know about this,” doesn’t God, who examines motives, discern it? Doesn’t the one who guards your soul know about it? (Proverbs 24:12; ISV). 

This is the confidence that we have in him: if we ask for anything according to his will, he listens to us (1 John 5:14; ISV).

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

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