King of kings (#2 of 2 linked prayers)

Image: redcharlie, Unsplash


🖤

Notice how God is both kind and severe
(Romans 11:22; NLT).

1. Righteous, raging,
King of kings:
You, alone,
Deserve my praise.

2. Jealous, judging,
Lord of lords:
You, alone,
Allot my days.

3. Watchful, wrathful,
God of gods:
You, alone,
Are just, and good.

4. Vengeful, zealous,
First and Last:
You, alone,
Are fire, and love.

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

🖤


References

1. There is no God but me, a righteous God and Saviour (Isaiah 45:21; NLT).

O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage (Psalm 6:1; NLT).

God [is] the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings (1 Timothy 6:15; NIV).

2. God is jealous (Nahum 1:2; NKJV).

The Lord judges the great people of the world and brings them all to nothing (Isaiah 40:23; NLT).

The Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords (Deuteronomy 10:17; NLT).

3. God is always watching them (Job 24:23; NLT).

At his wrath the earth will tremble, and the nations will not be able to endure his indignation (Jeremiah 10:10; NKJV).

The Lord your God is the God of gods (Deuteronomy 10:17; NLT).

The Lord is just! (Psalm 92:15; NLT).

Only God is truly good (Mark 10:8; NLT).

4. The Lord is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and rage (Nahum 1:2; NLT).

I will be zealous for my holy name (Ezekiel 39:25; NIV).

I am the First and the Last; there is no other God (Isaiah 44:6; NLT)

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

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

Consequences

Image: Pete Linforth, Pixabay


🖤

He reveals deep and mysterious things
and knows what lies hidden in darkness

(Daniel 2:22; NLT).

Lord,

1. You know I’ve been abused.
I’m traumatised, and scarred.
I’ve had to live with shame, dread
And depression. It’s been hard.

2. My physical and mental health
Have failed, time and again.
I’m sure my mother never guessed
Her rage would cause such pain.

3. Since then, I’ve tried to be
A Good Samaritan each day,
But now I see that I, too, was attacked
Along the way –

4. Stripped and beaten, left half dead,
Despised, passed by, ignored,
Then you drew near to care for me,
My Priest, my God, my Lord.

5. At last, I’ve grasped your promise,
And your plan has been revealed:
My suffering will end one day –
In death, I will be healed.

🧡


References

1. God has seen your abuse (Genesis 31:42; NLT).

2. The tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself (James 3:6; NLT).

No one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison (James 3:8; NLT).

The tongue can bring life or death (Proverbs 18:21; NLT).

They live wicked lives and they misuse their power (Jeremiah 23:10; NET).

You did not reflect on your actions or think about their consequences (Isaiah 47:7; NLT).

3. A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers (Luke 10:30; NIV).

4. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road (Luke 10:30; NLT).

By chance, a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side (Luke 10:31-2; NLT).

I am insignificant and despised (Psalm 119:141; NLT).

I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit about what happens to me (Psalm 142:4; NLT).

Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine, and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, “Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here” (Luke 10:33-35; NLT).

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

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess (Hebrews 4:15; NIV).

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

5. My eyes strain to see your rescue, to see the truth of your promise fulfilled (Psalm 119:123; NLT).

We receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:22; NLT).

This is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:6; NLT).

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

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever ( Revelation 21:3-4; 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).

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).

Within

The kingdom of God is within you
(Luke 17:21; NKJV).

1. God isn’t in the whirlwind,
But in our rage and dread.

2. He isn’t in the earthquake,
But in our grief and pain.

3. He isn’t in the firestorm,
But in our guilt and sin –

4. For God is in our darkness:
The still, small voice within.


References

1. Then he said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind… (1 Kings 19:11; NKJV).

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

2. …and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake… (1 Kings 19:11; NKJV).

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4; NIV).

3. …and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire… (1 Kings 19:12; NKJV).

He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24; NLT).

4. Moses approached the thick darkness where God was (Exodus 20:21, NIV).

…and after the fire a still small voice (1 Kings 19:12; NKJV).