28.11.22: Life is sweet

Context: This prayer arrived in a rough form on Saturday, when I had a migraine. It wasn’t until yesterday, when I looked at it again, that I was able to see what it was saying, and put it into words:

After the fire came a still small voice (1 Kings 19:12; BSB). 

Listen to God’s voice,
So small, so still,
For life is sweet
When we accept his will. 

No matter what God sends,
Of good or bad,
When we say,”Yes”, like Christ,
Our hearts are glad.

No matter what God asks,
We have a choice –
So let’s say, “Thank you, Jesus”,
And rejoice. 

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NIV).


References 

Teach me to do your pleasure, because you are my God; your Spirit is sweet; you will lead me in the way of life (Psalm 143:10; ABPE). 

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).

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

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

Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you (Isaiah 30:20; NLT).

The laws of the LORD are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb (Psalm 19:9-10; NLT). 

How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey (Psalm 119:103; NLT).

15.11.22: Even me?

Context: This prayer was written a few days ago, but being unable to write at present (because I’m ill with Covid), has given me an unexpected opportunity to use it here today.

NB: My husband started to feel ill yesterday, and has now also tested positive for covid, so we are in isolation.

God already loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God (John 16:27; TIB).

Lord,

Do you love even me?
And do you hear my every plea?
And do you really set me free?
You do.

You’re the way, the door, the key.
You teach, forgive and guide. You see
My sins, yet still you guarantee
It’s true.

Yahweh, Son and Spirit: Three
In One, God for eternity –
May all believe, and bow the knee
To you.

“As surely as I live,” says the Lord, “every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God” (Romans 14:11; NIV).


References:

Christ has truly set us free (Galatians 5:1; NLT).

He hears us (1 John 5:14; NLT).

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).

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7; NKJV).

You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life (Deuteronomy 30:20; NLT).

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11; NLT).


Reading: Isaiah 45:22-24; NIV

Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth;

For I am God, and there is no other.

By myself I have sworn,

My mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked:

Before me every knee will bow;

By me every tongue will swear.

They will say of me, “In the LORD alone are deliverance and strength.”

1.11.22: Heal all living souls

Context: Today’s and tomorrow’s prayers form a linked pair:

Now he will heal us (Hosea 6:1; NLT). 

Lord,

Heal all living souls,
I pray,

And guide us
To your narrow way.

Teach and strengthen us
Each day,

Until all seek your face,
And say: I love you.

My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek (Psalm 27; 8; NIV). 

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


The rosary-making project

Most of the materials I need to make rosaries arrived yesterday, to my delight. The main piece of kit I don’t have yet is the special rosary tool, which is coming all the way from America.

In the evening I enjoyed making a practice chaplet representing one decade, as seen above. I really need to sit by an expert to learn this craft, especially as my brain can’t distinguish between left and right for making the knots.

However, I managed to add some beads to a little cross on a cord, which I bought from a lovely lady in the UK. My addition is very simple indeed, but I’m still very pleased with the result!


25.10.22: Hidden

Context: You might smile to read that I prepared this blog yesterday in hospital whilst having multiple specialised tests.

You died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3; NLT).

May I always live, Lord God,
Hidden with Christ, in you.

May I always pray, Lord God,
Hidden with Christ, in you.

May I always serve, Lord God,
Hidden with Christ, in you.

May I always stay, Lord God,
Hidden with Christ, in you.

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever (Psalm 16:11; NLT).


References

Hide me in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 17:8; NLT).

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me (Luke 13:34; NLT).

19.9.22: The state of our world

  • Whilst praying this morning, I reflected on the severely unsettled, and unsettling, state of our world:

Those who hold power are taking their stand, gathering their forces against YHWH (Psalm 2:1; TIB).

  • But then I saw that God is just as unchanging, powerful and loving as ever:

I am the LORD, and I do not change (Malachi 3:6; NLT).

Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all (1 Chronicles 29:11; KJV).

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

  • God waits for us to repent, so we can be forgiven, and start to change:

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

Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized 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).

  • So I prayed that we will all repent, turn to God, and start changing our lives before it’s too late: before we destroy the earth, our only home, and all her plants, creatures and people, through our foolish wars, hatred, selfishness, greed and ignorance:

Perhaps even yet they will turn from their evil ways and ask the LORD’s forgiveness before it is too late. For the LORD has threatened them with his terrible anger (Jeremiah 36:7; NLT).


Reading: Psalm 2, The Inclusive Bible 

Why are the nations creating such an uproar?  Why all this commotion among the peoples? 

Those who hold power are taking their stand, gathering their forces against YHWH, against God’s Anointed One. “Let’s break their chains!” they say. “Let’s throw off their shackles!” 

But the One who sits enthroned in the heavens laughs; the Sovereign One derides them, then rebukes them in anger and, enraged, terrifies them: “It is I who installed my ruler on Zion, on the mountain of my holiness!” 

I will proclaim God’s decree – YHWH said to me: “You are my own; I’ve given birth to you today. Just ask – I’ll give you the nations as your inheritance! I’ll give you the ends of the earth as your possession! You’ll break them with an iron scepter; you’ll shatter them as easily as a clay pot.” 

So, you rulers, be wise! And you who hold power, stand warned! Serve YHWH and rejoice – but do so with fear and trembling. Pay homage to God’s Own lest you be destroyed on your way in a blaze of anger – for God’s passion can flare up without warning. 

Happiness comes to those who make God their refuge! 

Catalyst (with thanks to K.B.)


Context: Today I’m full of anticipation, because tomorrow is a significant day for me. Some of you will know that my health is very poor, so I’ve been having a lot of clinical investigations done locally over the last couple of months. Tomorrow, at 9am, I will be having my second video appointment with a London specialist.

Hopefully, we will discuss the test results, then he will offer a firm diagnosis. If so, he might tell me what to expect, or perhaps even offer some medical help. However, it’s also possible that he will ask me to travel to London for further testing before he can reach a definite diagnosis. Either way, we should be able to agree on a plan for what needs to happen next.

At the moment I’m mainly just feeling very aware that I may be about to receive some life-changing information. Tomorrow morning, though, I think I’ll be rather anxious as I wait for the video appointment to start, even though I’m ready to accept whatever comes out of it.

So, after that rather long preamble, here is the prayer I was given earlier today:

We know that God makes everything work together for the good of those who love God and have been called according to God’s purpose (Romans 8:28; TIB). 

Yahweh,
Catalyst of healing,
You bring good from all that’s bad.

Jesus,
Architect of healing,
You bring joy from all that’s sad.

Spirit,
Fountainhead of healing,
You bring courage from my fears.

Most High,
Crucible of healing,
You bring gladness from my tears.

The Most High will wipe away every tear from their eyes. And death, mourning, crying and pain will be no more, for the old order has fallen (Revelation 21:4; NLT).


References

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NIV). 

Though YHWH may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide from you anymore; your eyes will see your Teacher. And when you turn to the right and when you turn to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way – walk in it” (Isaiah 30:20-21; TIB).

When my mind is closed

They have closed their minds and hardened their hearts
(Ephesians 4:18; NLT).

Yahweh,
When my mind is closed,
Remind me how, when Jesus rose,
He came to Mary, and to those
Who trusted.

Yahweh,
When my heart is hard,
Please show me how my way is barred
By prejudice; your face, marred
By my judgements.

Yahweh,
When I start to preach,
May I remember what you teach:
Love everyone, and help me reach
Your standard.

This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ (Ephesians 4:13; NLT).


References 

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you (1 Thessalonians 3:12; NIV). 

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbour as yourself (Leviticus 19:18; NLT).

Love the stranger (Deuteronomy 10:19; NKJV).

Show love to foreigners (Deuteronomy 10:19; NLT).

Love your enemies (Matthew 5:44; NLT).

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26; NIV).

Faith and hope

Context: Yesterday, after praying for others, there was nothing else I needed to say, so I fell silent. This time of wordless communion was eventually brought to an end by the arrival of today’s blog. It was easy to grasp, but extremely hard to put into words, perhaps because I’m still very tired after my journey back from the UK. 


Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love (Romans 5:2-5; NLT).

Lord,
Once I have prayed for others,
Faith and hope remain,
And, when I am sick and weary,
Patience will sustain.

Lord,
Once I have said I’m sorry,
Love and peace abide,
And, when I request forgiveness,
Mercy will provide.

Lord,
Once I have asked your blessing,
Bounty is assured,
And, when I accept your wishes,
All can be endured.

Lord,
Though I have tried my hardest,
I have often failed,
Yet, when you receive my soul,
I’ll see your face, unveiled.


References

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

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known (1 Corinthians 13:12; KJV). 

We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18; NKJV). 

The flood

Context: Recently, I’ve been thinking about the flood narrative in Genesis, which illustrates the disastrous consequences of sinful, human behaviour:

YHWH saw the great wickedness of the people of the earth, that the thoughts in their hearts fashioned nothing but evil. YHWH was sorry that humankind had been created on earth; it pained God’s heart. YHWH said, “I will wipe this human race that I have created from the face of the earth – not only the humans, but also the animals, the reptiles, and the birds of the heavens. I am sorry I ever made them” (Genesis 6:5-7; TIB). 

So God sent a great flood to wipe out all living things:

For forty days the flood continued… The waters rose so high over the earth that all the high mountains under heaven were covered… All life on the earth perished – birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures, and all humankind (Genesis 7:17-21; TIB).

The TIB translation includes an interesting scholarly footnote for this passage:

“Some commentators feel the story of the Flood speaks of the ending of the last ice age, when the melt from the receding glaciers raised the sea level high enough to submerge much of what had before been dry land.”

The Biblical flood story is usually seen as being safely in the past, but it recently occurred to me that it can also be understood as a prophecy, for as global warming melts the polar ice-caps, similarly catastrophic flooding is becoming inevitable.

Of course, some readers may rightly point out that after the flood God promised never to cause such terrible destruction again (Genesis 8:21; TIB). However, modern climate change is not an act of God. Rather, it is caused by human over-exploitation of finite earthly resources. The causes and consequences of global warming are therefore ours alone, as we move ever further from our original commission to, “cultivate and care for the land” (Genesis 2:15; TIB). 

So, flowing from these reflections, here is today’s prayer:

From the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed.
(Jeremiah 6:13; NLT). 

Lord,

How can you bear our wastefulness?
How can you bear our greed?
How can you bear our selfishness?
How can you bear our hate?

How can you bear our ignorance?
How can you bear our pride?
How can you bear our foolishness?
You weep in us all, and wait. 

How can you bear our bitterness?
How can you bear our strife?
How can you bear our wickedness?
How can you bear our sin?

How can you bear our cruelty?
How can you bear our wars?
How can you bear our lovelessness?
You weep, Lord, and wait within. 

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

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

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).