30.11.22: Time

Context: A few days ago I woke early, giving me the luxury of time to spend with Jesus, and out of that time, this little prayer gently arose:

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed (Mark 1:35; NIV). 

It’s good to lie awake with you, Lord Jesus,
To pray, and reunite, and hear your voice.

It’s good to share this time with you, Lord Jesus:
Despite my trials and sorrows, to rejoice. 

It’s good to say I’m sorry, ask forgiveness,
And beg you, Lord, to help us live in peace.

It’s good to spend this time alone with you, Lord,
Until the day when time, for me, will cease. 

Behold, I am with you every day, even unto the end of time (Matthew 28:20; ABPE).


References 

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33; NLT).

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:27; NLT). 

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

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30; NLT). 

You live in my darkness

Context: Greetings to everyone who follows, or visits, this website. Some of you will be aware that my health, energy and mobility are steadily deteriorating. This makes producing a fully-referenced poem or article every day more tiring than I can manage nowadays. I’ve been struggling badly for the last few months, as this task has gradually become more and more of a challenge.

Tomorrow is my 70th birthday, so from that day onwards, for a trial period of a month, I’m going to share what God shows me each day much more directly, just as I experience it and note it down at the time. This might take the form of a short prayer, or a set of reflections. I don’t know yet exactly what will happen, but I trust God to help me.

This new approach should greatly reduce my daily work-load, but will still enable me to share with you what I’m given. After a month, I’ll review how I’m coping, and let you know how it has felt.

You might smile to know that a few days ago, in desperation, I had decided to keep on writing as before, but only to post on alternate days. However, this didn’t feel right, and I knew it wasn’t exactly what God wanted. Then today, about an hour ago, I was given the new approach described above, which means I can still post every day. It’s a great relief to have received this guidance, and to have a way forward that feels right. My only desire is to do God’s will.

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

Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship,
for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
(Psalm 89:15; NLT). 

1. You live in my darkness;
I walk in your light.

2. You cannot be seen,
But I dwell in your sight.

3. You bear all my burdens;
I lean on your might.

4. In love and rejoicing,
Complete: we unite. 

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


References 

1. When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12; NIV). 

2. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us (1 John 4:12; NLT). 

We shall live in his sight (Hosea 6:2; KJV). 

3. Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens (Psalm 68:19; NIV). 

In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years (Isaiah 63:9; NLT). 

I love you, LORD; you are my strength (Psalm 18:1; NLT).

4. I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love (Psalm 31:7; NLT). 

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).

You alone are God

Context: Truly exhausted, I have arrived safely in Ely (UK), at last. Yesterday’s 5-hour train ride was SO exciting, and I met some wonderful people, learning about their lives and the purpose of their journeys, and sharing the pleasure of their achievements. To my delight, I coped well with several very long tunnels, and even managed the loo, though I admit I did not lock the door. Today’s photo is an action-shot, taken as the train passed through a station, just to prove I was really there!

I will make all my goodness pass before you,

and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you.
(Exodus 33:19; NLT).


Yahweh,
You alone are God:
My birth, my breath,
My everything.

You live in me,
And I in you:
So we are one
In all I do.

Yahweh,
You alone are God:
Inspire my weary heart
To sing

Through every word,
My soul laid bare –
Till all my life
Becomes a prayer.

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

Not enough silence

Context: After about three hours of very concentrated writing in bed, I began to surface into awareness of my body and my surroundings. I was just saying (slightly self-pityingly), to God that I never have enough time to pray, and that even a lifetime isn’t nearly enough, when I saw how different this will be in heaven. There, I will have all eternity to lose myself entirely in worship, without any distractions or responsibilities.

Then, the very next moment, it came to me that when I’m worshipping here, on earth, I’m temporarily experiencing heaven, and sharing the bliss of unending oneness with God. This oneness is the same on earth as it is in heaven, so heaven is now. Today’s prayer hit me in an instant, like an arrow reaching its target. I scribbled it down, then had to get up and start engaging with the day. I still didn’t have enough time to pray undisturbed!

NB: Writing this sparked off another prayer, which I hope to post tomorrow, God willing.

In my heart, I am thirsty for you, the living God.
When will I see your face? (Psalm 42:2; CEV).

Not enough silence,
And not enough stillness.
Not enough solitude.
Not enough time…

Suddenly: Heaven
Unbounded, united
In mercy and love:
I am yours, You are mine.

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

Transfixed

Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10; NLT). 

Transfixed by God in stillness,
Here I wait, for you are always near,
To share each prayer, and sigh and tear
Together.

Transfixed by God in silence,
Now I worship wordlessly, and bow,
For you are with me, I and Thou,
My Saviour.

 Transfixed by God in solitude,
I celebrate your perfect love,
Renewed, forgiven through your blood
Forever.

Transfixed by God in darkness,
Lord, your Spirit hovers here, adored;
Though made of dust, I am restored
To wholeness.

Transfixed by God in perfect bliss,
I cleave to you; we interweave:
United, may I never leave
Your presence.

Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
(Hebrews 10:22; NLT).  

Because of Christ and our faith in him,
we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
(Ephesians 3:12; NLT). 

Breathing

Context: This prayer happened as soon as I woke and began to pray this morning. I was silently repeating God’s personal name, YAHWEH, breathing in on the first syllable, and out on the second. YAH is feminine, whilst WEH is masculine, so I love how both are combined in this truly astonishing name (see reference below). The prayer begins with an in-breath.


 God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh – ‘the LORD.'”
(Exodus 6:2; NLT). 

You are the God who gives breath to all creatures.
(Numbers 16:22; NLT).

YAH: breathe in, and WEH: breathe out:
With every breath, beyond all doubt,
I breathe you in, and breathe you out –
My Maker.

I live in you, and you in me:
Creator, for eternity,
The One who comes to set me free –
My Saviour.

For I am yours, and you are mine:
You, my temple; I, your shrine;
Together, far beyond all time –
United.

We live in love, unseen, yet true:
The God who comes to make me new,
Who breathes and sighs within, for you
Are YAHWEH.

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

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). 

Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true.
(John 3:33; NLT).


Reference

“The personal name of God, Yahweh, which is revealed to Moses in Exodus 3, is a remarkable combination of both female and male grammatical endings. The first part of God’s name in Hebrew, “Yah,” is feminine, and the last part, “weh,” is masculine.”

These words are quoted from an article by David Wheeler-Reed, who is Visiting Assistant Professor at Albertus Magnus College, Connecticut. His article is well worth reading, and is available free of charge online at The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/what-the-early-church-thought-about-gods-gender-100077#. I am very grateful for being able to include his words here today.

Just a breath (for K. and R.)

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

1. Lord,
You’re just a breath away;
A pause, a stillness, every day;
A moment when I stop to say:
I love you. 

2. Lord,
You’re just a breath away;
A lull, a silence, every day;
A moment when my thoughts don’t stray:
You love me.

3. Lord,
You’re just a breath away;
A hush, a darkness, every day;
A moment when I cease to pray:
United. 

4. Lord,
You’re just a breath away;
A rest, a oneness, every day;
A moment, Father, come what may:
Completeness.

You are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10; BLB).


References 

1. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person (Genesis 2:7; NLT).

Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10; NIV).

I love you, Lord (Psalm 18:1; NLT). 

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

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

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

3. He himself gives to all people life and breath (Acts 17:25; NASB20).

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

Whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; NIV).

4. When you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust (Psalm 104:29; NIV).

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

Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30; NLT).

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).

If you can’t imagine God

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine”
(Isaiah 55:8; NLT).

God’s voice is glorious in the thunder.
We can’t even imagine the greatness of his power
(Job 37:23; NLT).

1. If you can’t imagine God,
Picture Christ, alone.

2. If you can’t believe in God,
Trust in Christ, alone.

3. If you long to know the truth,
Learn from Christ, alone.

4. If you cannot find your way,
Follow Christ, alone.

5. If you’re walking in the dark,
Cling to Christ, alone.

6. If you thirst for inner peace,
Rest in Christ, alone.

7. If you feel unheard, unloved,
Pray to Christ, alone,

8. And if you want to live in God,
Unite with Christ, alone. 

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!
(John 14:9; NLT).


References

1. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being (Hebrews 1:3; NIV).

In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form (Colossians 2:9; NIV).

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15; NLT).

2. Trust also in me (John 14:1; NLT). 

3. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me (Matthew 11:29; NIV). 

4. 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).

5. Listen to his voice and cling to him (Deuteronomy 13:4; NLT). 

6. Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28-30; NLT).

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

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

8. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them (1 John 4:16; NIV).

Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-8; NIV). 

So you also are complete through your union with Christ (Colossians 2:10; NLT). 

More questions

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows
(John 16:33; NLT).

1. What makes life on earth worth living?

Loving people, and forgiving;
Prayer, rejoicing, and thanksgiving –
Letting Jesus in.

2. What makes faith in Christ worth choosing? 

Peace, despite the world’s abusing;
Gain, in spite of all we’re losing –
Following our King.

3. What makes trouble worth enduring?

Learning, growing, and maturing;
Meeting others, helping – turning
Minds and souls to Him.

4. What makes Jesus’ way worth taking?  

Service, though our hearts are breaking –
So, choose Christ, all else forsaking,
And unite with Him.

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 3:9; NLT).


References 

1. My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God (Acts 20:24; NLT). 

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; RSV).

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

Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends (Revelation 3:20; NLT).

2. Choose today whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15; NLT).

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:27; NLT).

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21; CSB). 

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).

On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords (Revelation 19:16; NLT).

3. When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow (James 1:2-3; NLT).

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12; NLT).

Grow to maturity (2 Corinthians 13:11; NLT).

Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else (Mark 9:35; NLT).

Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone (Mark 16:15; NLT). 

Each of you must repent and turn to God, and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; NLT).

4. Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine (Luke 22:42; NLT). 

Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing (Luke 23:34; NLT).

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

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

Pray without words

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

Pray without words;
Confess without words.

Weep without words,
And repent without words.

Teach without words;
Forgive without words.

Serve without words,
And rejoice without words.

Love without words;
Commune without words.

Praise without words,
And unite without words.

🖤

Your godly lives will speak to them without any words.
(1 Peter 3:1; NLT).

I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee.
(Exodus 25:22; KJV).