My spirit rises up


Image: Engin Akyurt, Pixabay


1. My spirit rises up, Lord God,
To join with yours, in prayer.

2. I share my pain and fear with you,
Each fault, each sin, each care,

3. United with you, Father God,
Your Spirit, and your Son,

4. With all the living, and the dead,
For in you, all are one.

 


References

1. Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord (Jeremiah 50:5; ESV).

Pray constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17; CSB).

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

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

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

3. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one (John 17:22; NLT).

4. He is God of the living, not the dead, for they are all alive to him (Luke 20:38; NLT).

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

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. And may they be in us (John 17:21; NLT).

Take away

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Look, I am making everything new (Revelation 21:5; NLT).

Lord,

1. Take away my fault-finding,
And give me a new mind.

2. Take away my bitterness,
And give me a new heart.

3. Take away my wretchedness,
And give me a new soul.

4. Take away my sinfulness, Lord God,
And make me whole.

Be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him (Colossians 3:10; NLT).


References

1. Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you (Luke 6:37; NLT).

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

2. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander (Ephesians 4:31; NLT).

Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you (Hebrews 12:15; NLT).

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).

3. What a wretched man I am! (Romans 7:24; CSB).

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

4. An evil man is trapped by sinfulness of lips (Proverbs 12:13; HNV).

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).

Wash away

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1. Wash away my dread, Lord God,
And take away my pain.

2. Cleanse me of all guilt and sin,
And give me hope again.

3. Wrap me in your loving arms,
So I may feel you near,

4. And fill me with your joy and peace –
Then I will have no fear.

 


References

1. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day (Deuteronomy 28:66; NIV).

There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever (Revelation 21:4; NLT).

2. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7; NLT).

Your word is my source of hope (Psalm 119:114; NLT).

3. The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you (Deuteronomy 33:27; NLT).

From Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, wrapped in the love of God the father and kept for Jesus Christ (Jude 1:1; NET).

You have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13; NLT).

4. Give me back my joy again (Psalm 51:8; NLT).

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give you is a gift the world cannot give (John 14:27; NLT).

The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Hebrews 13:6; NKJV).

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).

Loving you

Image: Sebi6000, Pixabay; wording: RK


Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
all your soul, all your strength,
and all your mind
(Luke 10:27; NLT).

1. Lord,
I share my joy with you,
Loving you with all my mind,
Worshipping your holy name,
And praising you, for you are kind.

2. Lord,
I share my fear with you,
Loving you with all my might,
Putting all my faith in you,
And clinging to you day and night.

3. Lord,
I share my sin with you,
Loving you with all my heart,
Trusting in your clemency,
And knowing you will take my part.

4. Lord,
I share my pain with you,
Loving you with all my soul,
Resting in your tender arms,
And trusting you to make me whole.

 


References

1. Love the Lord your God […] with all your mind (Luke 10:27; NLT).

Your name is holy! (Psalm 99:3; NLT). 

How kind the Lord is! (Psalm 116:5; NLT). 

2. Love the Lord your God […] with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:5; RSV).

Your mercy is so plentiful (Psalm 69:16; NLT).

I cling to you (Psalm 63:8; NLT).

3. Love the Lord your God with all your heart (Deuteronomy 6:5; RSV).

He forgives all my sins (Psalm 103:2-4; NLT).

4. Love the Lord your God […] with all your soul (Deuteronomy 6:5; RSV).

The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you (Deuteronomy 33:27; NLT).

His hands make whole (Job 5:18; NKJV).

May I care

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1. May I care for others, Lord,
And also for myself,

2. Mindful of their thinking, Lord,
And also of my own;

3. Conscious of their feelings, Lord,
And mine, too, deep within –

4. Then I will speak the truth in love,
But, Lord, I will not sin.

 


References

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

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

2. We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5; NIV).

3. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15; NRSV).

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? (Psalm 42:5; NLT).

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

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).

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).

Your will be done

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1. I offer my body and mind to you,
I open my heart and soul.

2. Forgive my sins, and heal me, Lord;
I beg you: make me whole.

3. But if it’s your desire
That I should suffer with your Son,

4. Please help me to accept my lot with joy:
Your will be done.


References

1. You and I both belong to God (Job 33:6; NLT).

2. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases (Psalm 103:3; NLT).

3. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death (Philippians 3:10; NLT).

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).

4. By God’s power accept your share of suffering for the gospel (2 Timothy 1:8; NET).

I am overflowing with joy in the midst of all our suffering (2 Corinthians 7:4; NET.

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).

Start afresh

Image: Pixabay

Lord,

1. May I start afresh today,
And leave my setbacks
Far behind.

2. May I try again, Lord,
To be patient, frank,
And kind.

3. May my heart and mind
Commune with yours, Lord:
Silent, still,

4. As I listen for your quiet voice,
So I may do
Your will.


References

1. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning (Lamentations 3:23; NLT).

Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you (Job 11:4; NLT).

2. Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city (Proverbs 16:32; NLT).

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

A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people (2 Timothy 2:24; NLT).

Love your enemies and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish (Luke 6:35; RSV).

3. Pray constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).

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

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

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

Be still in the presence of the Lord (Psalm 37:7; NLT).

4. After the fire came a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12; NIV).

Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go” (Isaiah 30:21; NLT).

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing (Psalm 143:10; NLT).

God is fire

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1. God is fire,
Blazing in darkness.

2. God is light,
Showing the way.

3. God is peace,
Reigning forever.

4. God is truth,
Helping us pray.

5. God is strong,
Knowing our weakness.

6. God is good,
Cleansing our sin.

7. God is kind,
Sharing our sorrows.

8. God is love,
Waiting within.


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 mighty (Job 36:5; NLT).

6. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good (1 Chronicles 16:34; RSV).

7. How kind the Lord is (Psalm 116:5; NLT).

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

The Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion (Isaiah 30:18; NLT).

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