Citizens of heaven

Context: Today I saw more fully that we really can experience heaven here and now, on earth, even in the most mundane or testing of situations.

Heaven and earth as not separate. Rather, they are one, for they exist entirely within the infinity of God, as does everything. When we live in love, we live in God, and this means living in heaven, which has no location, boundary, limit, time, beginning, or end.

When we live in God, and therefore in heaven, concepts such as ‘life’ and ‘death’ lose all meaning, for we are already “citizens of heaven” (Philippians 1:27; NLT). So, after these brief notes, here is today’s blog (which I posted early, by accident!)

In Christ there is no Jew or Greek,
slave or citizen, male or female.
All are one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; TIV). 

1. All things in earth and heaven are one:
There is no he or she;
There is no inequality;
There is no slave or free.

2. All things in earth and heaven are one:
There is no Jew or Greek;
There is no difference at all;
There are no strong, or weak.

3. All things in earth and heaven are one,
So there is no more death –
Just timeless, oceanic bliss,
Because we are your breath.

Yahweh God formed man from the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living soul
(Genesis 2:7; WEB). 


References 

1. The TIV Footnote to Galatians 3:28 refers to this verse as “the climax of Paul’s letter, establishing the equality of all those united in Christ through the Spirit.”

There is…one God and Creator of all, who is over all, who works through all and is within all (Ephesians 4:5-6; TIV). 

2. He knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust (Psalm 103:14; NLT).

3. There is life in the path of righteousness, and in its path there is no death (Proverbs 12:28; CSB). 

You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world (Colossians 2:20; NLT). 

We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our sisters and brothers (1 John 3:14; TIV). 

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:12; NLT).

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life (Job 33:4; NLT).

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

Just like you

The Word became human
and made his home among us.
(John 1:14; NLT).

Lord,
I’m human, just like you –
Like you, may I be kind.

Lord,
I’m tempted, just like you –
Like you, may I be pure.

Lord,
I’m fearful, just like you –
Like you, may I be brave.

Lord,
I’m humble, just like you –
Your weak, unworthy slave.

🖤

Whoever wants to be first among you
must be the slave of everyone else.
(Mark 10:44; NLT).

 


I’d like to be your helper

Stop and help
(Exodus 23: NLT).

I’d like to be your helper, Lord,
Befriending one and all.

I’d like to be your servant, Lord,
Assisting those who fall.

I’d like to be your slave, Lord,
Loving stranger, friend, and foe,

But I’m happy to be nothing, Lord –
The lowest of the low.

I am nothing
(Job 40:4; NLT).

You will be brought low; from the earth you will speak, and from the dust where you are prostrate your words will come. Your voice will also be like that of a spirit from the ground, and your speech will whisper from the dust
(Isaiah 294; NASB 1995).

I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people
(Ephesians 3:8; NIV).

_____________________________

Heart’s desire

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

Lord,
You are my heart’s desire:
My hope, my peace,
My light, my fire;
My way, my truth,
My source, my goal –
I love you.

Lord,
I am your heart’s desire:
The lowest creature
You inspire;
Your slave, your guest,
Your child, your heir –
You love me.

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


Prayer

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

Lord,
I pray for all those who are cold,
Hungry, thirsty, fearful,
Or in pain.

Lord,
I pray for all those who are sick,
Homeless, sad, awaiting help,
In vain.

Lord,
I pray for all those who are poor,
Abused, enslaved,
Whose sorrow never ends.

Help me, Lord, like you,
To care for all,
While loving those who hate me,
As my friends.

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).

Who am I?

Who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us
(1 Chronicles 29:14; NLT).

Who am I, to search for you, Lord?
Who am I, to ask for grace?

Who am I, to beg your mercy?
Who am I, to seek your face?

Who am I, to hear your whisper?
Who am I, to praise your name?

Who am I, to live within you?
Who am I, to share your pain?

Who am I, that you forgive me?
Who am I, that you should hear?

Who am I, that you protect me?
Who am I, that you are near?

Who am I, that you should love me?
Who am I, that you should save?

Lord, I’m your unworthy servant;
Nothing, but your lowest slave.

I am your lowest slave
(Psalm 116:16; NET).

Humility

Image: OpenClipart-Vectors, Pixabay


Always be humble and gentle
(Ephesians 4:2; NLT).

The Bible tells us that God wants us to grow in humility. Mother Theresa of Calcutta, who is now a Saint, saw the process of learning to become more humble as a set of specific, concrete measures we can practice every day.

Her advice is easy to understand, but much harder to follow. Over time, though, by embracing her approach and making it our own, we can gradually learn to respond to people and events with greater acceptance and humility.

I first posted these teachings as a series of daily quotations on Twitter and Facebook. When that project was complete, I decided to draw them together, and make them available here.

Each quotation is followed by an illustrative verse from the Bible or few words of clarification. I hope very much that you will find Mother Theresa’s clear, practical advice as helpful as I do.


1. Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters:
You must all be quick to listen
[and] slow to speak
(James 1:19; NLT).



2. Aspire to live quietly,
to mind your own affairs,
and to work with your own hands
(1 Thessalonians 4:10; RSV).


3. You should mind your own business
(1 Thessalonians 4:11; NIV).



4. They have an insatiable curiosity to hear new things
(2 Timothy 4:3; NET).



5. Be patient with each other,
making allowance for each other’s faults
because of your love
(Ephesians 4:2; NLT).


6. Whoever learns from correction is wise
(Proverbs 15:5; NLT).


7. How can you say to your brother,
‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’
when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye,
and then you will see clearly to remove the speck
from your brother’s eye
(Matthew 7:4-5; NIV).



8. Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.
For you will be treated as you treat others.
The standard you use in judging
is the standard by which you will be judged
(Matthew 7:1-2; NLT).


9. He was oppressed and treated harshly,
yet he never said a word
(Isaiah 53:7; NLT).


1o. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
yet he never said a word

(Isaiah 53:7; NLT).


11. The wisdom from above is first of all pure.
It is also peace-loving,
gentle at all times,
and willing to yield to others
(James 3:17; NLT).

NB: This doesn’t mean letting people walk all over you. It means letting others choose, and gladly going along with their choice, rather than insisting on having your own way.



12. He was despised and we did not care
(Isaiah 53:3; NLT).



13. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way
(Isaiah 53:3; NLT).


14. A gentle answer deflects anger,
but harsh words make tempers flare

(Proverbs 15:1; NLT).



15. They brag loudly about themselves
(Jude 1:16; NLT).

Don’t do your good deeds publicly,
to be admired by others
(Matthew 6:1; NLT).


16. Whoever wants to be first among you
must be the slave of all
(Mark 10:44; NET).



17. Do not be wise in your own opinion
(Romans 12:16; NKJV).


18. Even the Son of Man came not to be served
but to serve others,
and to give his life as a ransom for many
(Matthew 20:28; NLT).


Reference

All the quotations used here can be found by doing a Google search for: “Mother Theresa humility list”. I am very grateful to Mother for putting her advice list together, and to all those who circulate various versions of it online.

I am not fit

Image: Paul Gruber, Pixabay


💙

I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals
(Mark 1:7; NASB).

1. You love me, Lord,
Though I’m not fit
For anything but blame;
And talk with me,
Though I’m not fit
To speak your sacred name.

2. You comfort me,
Though I’m not fit
To call on you in prayer;
And ransom me,
Though I’m not fit
To warrant all your care.

3. You treasure me,
Though I’m not fit
To be your humble slave;
And cherish me,
Though I’m not fit
To rescue from the grave.

4. You shelter me,
Though I’m not fit
To contemplate your grace;
And smile on me,
Though I’m not fit
To gaze upon your face.

I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness
you have shown to me, your servant
(Genesis 32:10; NLT).

💙


References

1. I’m just a worm, less than human (Psalm 22:6; CEB).

We dare not mention the name of the Lord (Amos 6:10; NKJV).

2. I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord (Genesis 18:27; NKJV).

Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son (Luke 15:21; NLT).

3. I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals (Luke 3:16; NLT).

You brought me up from the grave, O Lord. You kept me from falling into the pit of death (Psalm 30:3; NLT).

Rescue him from the grave, for I have found a ransom for his life (Job 33:24; NLT).

4. As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by (Exodus 33:22; NKJV).

Lord, do not trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honour (Luke 7:6; NLT).

Righteousness smiles down from heaven (Psalm 85:11; NLT).

Your way

Image: Yves Bernardi, Pixabay



Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart
(Matthew 11:9; NLT).

1. Please guide me
On your gentle way,
In all I think, and say, and do.
Then I will gladly serve all those
Whose lives I touch, Lord,
Just like you,

2. Please lead me
On your humble way,
And let me share your heart and mind.
Then I will gladly love all those
I meet, Lord,
And all humankind.

3. Please keep me
On your narrow way,
Although its comforts may be few.
Then I will gladly be the slave
Of everyone, Lord,
Just like you.

 


References

1. Be gentle to all (2 Timothy 2:24; NKJV).

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

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

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

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35; NIV).

Even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others (Mark 10:45; NLT).

2. Strive to be humble (Zephaniah 2:3; NET).

Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble (Zechariah 9:9; NLT).

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

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).

May the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow (1 Thessalonians 3:12; NLT).

3. The gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life (Matthew 7:14; NASB).

Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head (Luke 9:58; NKJV).

Whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else (Mark 10:44; NLT).

Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8; NLT).

Like a holy angel

Image: Henry Tanner, Yandex


1. Like a holy angel,
Like a child of God,
Jesus, may I follow you
Along the path you trod.

2. Like a faithful servant,
Like a humble slave,
Jesus, may I follow you,
And share the price you paid.

3. Like a good disciple,
Like a loyal friend,
Jesus, may I follow you
Until life’s bitter end.

 


References

1. Angels came and took care of Jesus (Matthew 4:11; NLT).

To all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12; NLT).

“Come, follow me” Jesus said (Matthew 4:19; NIV).

Small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it (Matthew 7:14; NIV).

2. Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities (Matthew 25:21; NLT).

Whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else (Mark 10:44; NLT).

If we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering (Romans 8:17; NLT).

3. Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34; NIV).

A friend is always loyal (Proverbs 17:17; NLT).

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23; NLT).

Jesus’ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching (Luke 23:49; NLT).

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46; NIV).

When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit (Matthew 27:50; NIV).