7.10.22: Here I am

Context: Yesterday I woke up very late. Whilst I lay still, praying without words and longing to see into my soul again, this prayer arrived:

Here I am. Did you call me? (1 Samuel 3:5; NLT). 

Here I am, Lord. Did you call me?
Speak: I long to hear your voice.

You are all in all to me, Lord,
Speak, for I have made my choice –

You’re my faith, my hope, my Saviour,
You’re my God, my great High Priest;

You’re my bread, my living water,
You’re my wine, my inner peace;

You’re my fire, my strength, my spirit,
You’re the light within my soul;

You’re my way, my truth, my life,
And you’re the One who makes me whole.

Jesus, though I’m weak and sinful,
You will come to set me free –

Speak; your servant, Lord, is listening,
And you’re everything to me.

Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening (1 Samuel 3:9; NIV).

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).


 Reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-10; NIV.

The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.

One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the LORD, where the ark of God was.

Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”

Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.

A third time the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy.

So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

5.10.22: My sun

Context: My apologies for accidentally posting an “extra” blog yesterday whilst working on it. This is a mistake it’s impossible to undo after it’s happened. It took me a while to recover my equilibrium and confidence afterwards, so I could continue writing and editing.

As I lay in bed, praying without words, I saw again that Yahweh is in everything. However, this time I saw a little further, grasping with joy and relief that God is even present in my darkness:

The LORD God is our sun and our shield (Psalm 84:11; NLT).

My sun, my cloud, my darkness;
My way, my staff, my rod;
My joy, my tears, my sickness;
My guide, my truth: my God.

My prayers, my sighs, my anguish;
My way, my staff, my rod;
My mind, my heart, my spirit;
My life, my love: my God.

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

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


References

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

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

Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light (Micah 7:8; NLT).

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).

Christ is all, and is in all (Colossians 3:11; NIV). 

Don’t you realise that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16; NLT).

Take life as it comes (for J.C.)

Context: When I woke up today, this prayer was already arriving. I began writing it down immediately, without even a moment to pray. As I have a migraine, which started yesterday, eye ulcers and a corneal abrasion, I was deeply grateful for the way this poem came together over the following hours.

I want your will to be done, not mine (Luke 22:42; NLT). 

1. I want to take life as it comes,
To praise, as it unfolds;
Accept your will,
And love you still,
Be faithful, brave and bold.

2. I’d like to take life as it comes,
For you send bad and good;
To hear your voice,
And learn, by choice,
Until I’ve understood.

3. I need to take life as it comes,
For you both wound and heal;
To do my best,
And face each test,
Until you are revealed.

4. I’ll try to take life as it comes,
For you bring good from bad;
To value both,
Delight in growth,
And let my heart be glad.

5. I choose to take life as it comes,
Right here; right now; today;
Face everything
With you, my King:
My life, my truth, my way.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one can come to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:6; NLT).


References

2. I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the Lord, am the one who does these things (Isaiah 45:7; NLT).

Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad? (Job 2:10; NLT).

3. I am the one who wounds and heals (Deuteronomy 32:39; NLT).

4. In all things God works for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28; NIV).

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NIV).

5. Choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19; NLT).

Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today (Matthew 6:34; NLT). 

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me (Psalm 23:4; NLT). 

You light a lamp for me. The LORD, my God, lights up my darkness. In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall (Psalm 18:28-9; NLT).

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God (Psalm 84:3; NLT). 

Enlightenment

Context: Today has been a very medical day, with help from my doctor and from the anti-coagulation clinic, then organising two week’s worth of medication. In the afternoon I had to  make an urgent visit to my ophthalmologist, who diagnosed ulcers and an abrasion in my right eye. This was followed by a dash to the pharmacy for steroids and antibiotics. I’ve also got a migraine, which helps to explain how I came to post this blog accidentally, before it was finished. Once I discovered my error, I put it right, but email followers received the first version, for which I apologise. Tomorrow is another day…

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “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). 

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 15:6; NLT).

I will never be enlightened
Without Jesus,
For Jesus is the way
I want to take.
He teaches me the path
Through life to heaven,
And helps me change and grow
For his name’s sake.

I will never be enlightened
Without Jesus,
For Jesus is the truth
That sets me free.
He opens every door
That blocks my progress,
Then leads me through,
For he has ransomed me.

I will never be enlightened
Without Jesus,
For Jesus is the life
I want to lead.
He walks beside me,
Loving, kind, unfailing:
My strength, my fire, my peace –
My living creed.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,”
and believe in your heart that God raised him
from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 19:9; NIV).


References 

This was the true light that enlightens every person by his coming into the world (John 1:9; ISV). 

Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9; NIV). 

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12; 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). 

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free (Luke 4:18; NIV). 

Wrapped

Context: This song of praise began to form whilst I was dancing for joy in the shower. When I got out to wrap myself in a large, homely towel, I was able to note it down. It was a pleasure to work on it during a completely unstructured day of rest following my long journey.

Don’t be afraid. Just have faith (Mark 5:36; NLT). 

1. I’m wrapped in faith, in hope and truth;
In praise and peace that never end.

2. I’m wrapped in joy, in thanks and prayer;
In all you give, and take and lend.

3. I’m wrapped in weakness and in strength;
In everything you make and send.

4. I’m wrapped in sickness, life and death;
In all you wound, and break and mend.

5. I’m wrapped in ecstasy and light;
In shadow, and the love of Christ.

I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 63:7; NLT). 

May you experience the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:19; NLT).


References 

1. Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love  (1 Corinthians 13:13; NLT). 

The Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6; NKJV).

The Lord is peace (Judges 6:24; NLT). 

2. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NIV).

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21; CSB). 

3. My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9; NLT). 

The Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength (Isaiah 26:4; KJV).

He created the earth and everything in it (Isaiah 42:5; NLT).

Everything you have is from God (1 Corinthians 4:7; NLT).

4. He himself sent this sickness (Isaiah 38:15; NLT). 

The LORD gives both death and life (1 Samuel 2:6; NLT).

He breaks the bow and snaps the spear (Psalm 46:9; NLT). 

He breaks the pride of princes (Psalm 76:12; NLT). 

I am the one who wounds and heals (Deuteronomy 32:39; NLT).

5. I became in ecstasy (Acts 22:17; DBY).

Then she was in ecstasy (2 Chronicles 9:4; BST).

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

In his shadow have I rapture (Song of Songs 2:3; DBY). 

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

A journey

Context: Yesterday, as soon as I woke up, I was taken on a journey around and beyond the world. There was no time to pray. Whilst it was happening, I was able to write down what I saw and understood, which has never happened to me before. I had no sense of time passing or of movement, and no awareness of my body or its surroundings.

The experience ended as soon as I had written down the last few words. I don’t know how long it lasted – perhaps an hour or two. Then I became aware of my body, and was very surprised to find myself in bed in my holiday flat, feeling truly awed and astonished by all I had seen. I might easily have thought I had simply been dreaming, except for all I had written down during my journey. Here is the essence of what I wrote:

I am God, and not a man –
the Holy One among you 
(Hosea 11:9; NIV). 

1. God is neither male nor female,
Black nor white, not straight or gay,

2. Not Orthodox, or Catholic,
Or Protestant: God is The Way.

3. God is not Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim,
Buddhist, Jain, or Sikh,

4. Nor any other great world faith,
For God is light, and love, and peace.

5. God is Spirit, here, within us all –
The grace that sets us free.

6. God’s truth, consuming fire, and strength
Are pearls beyond all price, to me.

The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant’s search for fine pearls. When one pearl of great value was found, the merchant went back and sold everything else and bought it (Matthew 13:45-6; TIB).


References 

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

2. Keep in mind that God’s greatness exceeds our knowledge; God’s vastness is a mystery (Job 36:26; TIB). 

I am the way (John 14:6; NIV).

God’s way is perfect (2 Samuel 22:31; NLT).

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

Follow the way of love (1 Corinthians 14:1; NIV). 

3. God is greater than we can understand (Job 36:26; NLT). 

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

The Lord is peace (Judges 6:24; NLT). 

5. God is Spirit (John 4:24; NLT). 

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

When we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin (Romans 6:7; NLT).

God’s grace has set us free from the law (Romans 6:15; NLT).

6. The Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6; NKJV).

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

The Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength (Isaiah 26:4; KJV).

I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace (Acts 20:24; NIV). 

Lord Jesus

Context: Today I will be setting out on my first long journey since before the start of the covid pandemic. It will take me two days to reach Ely, in the UK, where I will spend time with my family. This trip is going to be a huge physical and emotional challenge, as my health, energy, strength and mobility have deteriorated a lot since my last visit early in 2020, just before the arrival of covid and the first UK lockdown.

If you cling to your life, you will lose it;
but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
(Matthew 10:39; NLT).

My hope, my faith,
My light, my truth;
My joy unborn,
My sacred thorn:
Lord Jesus.

My pain, my grief,
My love, my life;
My gain, my loss,
My way, my cross:
Christ Jesus.

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). 

I love you

Context: Today I’m stressed, which is unusual for me. This is because tomorrow I am going on holiday for the first time in years. Old and tired, with chronic health issues and limited mobility, this is a huge undertaking for me, and I don’t know how I’m going to cope.

Taking two days for the journey, I will be travelling to visit my son and his family in Ely (UK). This trip is also a personal pilgrimage for me to Ely cathedral, perhaps for the last time. Additionally, if possible, I would like to visit Norwich, to see St. Julian’s hermitage. However, that will depend on how well I am, and is probably over-ambitious.

This holiday is a huge challenge for me, both physically and mentally, so all I can do is to commit myself to God’s loving care.

NB: Today’s picture is a photograph of my favourite icon, which hangs in my bedroom, opposite my bed. Having stored it on my iPad, this icon will be going on the trip with me.

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

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

1. I love you, Lord,
And you love me:
There’s nothing else I need.

2. You are my light,
My way, my staff,
My comfort, and my creed.

3. You are my truth,
My fire, my Book,
My strength, Lord, without cease.

4. You are my faith,
My hope, my life:
My everlasting peace.

The Lord is peace (Judges 6:24; NLT).


References 

1. God is love (1 John 4:8; NLT).

The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need (Psalm 23:1; NLT). 

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

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 15:6; NLT).

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (Psalm 23:4; KJV).

Jesus is ‘the stone rejected by the builders which has become the cornerstone.’ There is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other name under heaven given to the human race by which we must be saved (Acts 4:11-12; TIV). 

3. The Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6; NKJV).

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

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed (Psalm 139:16; NLT).

Search the book of the LORD, and see what he will do (Isaiah 34:16; NLT). 

The Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength (Isaiah 26:4; KJV).

4. Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13; NLT). 

In darkness

Context: Today’s poem came to me this morning. For once, I had lots of time to pray and to enjoy God’s presence, so I was relived to have a day off, with no writing. However, just as I was getting out of bed, the following arrived in a flash. It was easy to catch hold of, but much harder to write! 

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “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). 

I live in darkness lit by Christ,
And walk here, guided by his steps.
I serve here, aided by his strength,
And weep here, solaced by his kiss.

I feast in darkness on his bread,
And share his water, meat and wine.
I rest here, settled by his peace,
And sleep here, cradled by his bliss.

I wake in darkness at his call,
And pray here, kindled by his fire.
I learn here, nurtured by his truth,
And thirst, like him, for God above.

Thus, I spend my life in darkness,
Hid with Christ, my Risen Lord,
And, dwelling here in paradise,
I sing in darkness, lit by love.

Each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me,
and through each night I sing his songs,
praying to God who gives me life.
(Psalm 42:8; NLT).


References 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (Psalm 23:4; KJV).

Your life is hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3; KJV). 

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Psalm 23:6; NIV).

You have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God (1 Peter 1:23; NLT).

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43; NIV). 

Elohim


Context:
This prayer arrived early in the morning when I’d only just woken up. There are times when I hide under my duvet, because what I receive feels so awesome, and this was one of those times. Seeing and writing it left me quite shaky for a couple of hours.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1; TIV). 

Yahweh,
Maker and Sustainer,
Living, loving
All in all.

 Jesus,
Light and truth, divine,
God’s human face,
The Chosen One.

Spirit Being
Sister, Brother,
Breath of God,
Like flame; like dew.

*Elohim,
All One, All Love,
All Ways in me,
And I in you.

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).


Notes and acknowledgements

*Elohim: is a Hebrew word meaning “gods”. Although the word is plural in form, in the Hebrew Bible it usually refers to a single deity, particularly (but not always) the God of Israel. At other times it refers to deities in the plural (Wikipedia). 

Spirit: The word for “spirit” (rucha, ruach) in Aramaic and Hebrew, is feminine whereas in Greek (pneuma), it is neutral in gender. On some occasions in the Greek text, masculine verb endings and pronouns are used with the neutral gender word “Spirit” when speaking about the Holy Spirit, and sometimes it is without the definite article – i.e. just “Holy Spirit”.

Although in the Aramaic text rucha is feminine, it also uses masculine grammatical forms with the word. This conveys the male/female attributes of Yahweh carried in His ‘breath’ which of itself is neutral in gender. Being often addressed as “it” and “the”, also confirms that it is another “Person” in a trinity of ‘gods’. The term, “Holy Spirit” is a descriptive title. It is a description given for a specific manifestation of the Father’s Spirit Being (Wikibooks).