15.9.22: Inner healing

This short prayer came to me when I woke up, a day or two ago:

O Lord, you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness (2 Samuel 22:29; NLT). 

Lord, I am your temple (1). 

You live in my inner darkness, and know all the secrets of my heart (2). 

Please reveal to me everything hidden in darkest depths of my unconscious mind (3).

Please help me to work on all the damage, as it surfaces bit by bit, so I can be healed (4).

But, Lord, is it possible that amongst all my inner wounds and scars, some good things lie hidden there as well? (5).

I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness – secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name (Isaiah 45:3; NLT).

References 

1. We are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:16; NLT). 

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

He shrouded himself in darkness (2 Samuel 22:12; NLT). 

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

He knows the secrets of every heart (Psalm 44:21; NLT). 

3. It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you (Mark 7:20-23; NLT). 

He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness (Daniel 2:22; NLT).

4. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds (Hosea 6:1; NIV).

5. Every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old (Matthew 13:52; NIV). 

14.9.22: Praying for myself

When I pray for others, I ask for them to be comforted, strengthened and healed. But when I pray for myself, my approach is completely different.

When I pray for myself I don’t ask God to take my trials and sorrows away (see reference #1). Instead, I thank God for them all (2).

This might initially sound strange. However, praying for myself is my opportunity to ask God to help me accept and face each challenge squarely. God then helps me to work out how to deal with each problem in consciously assertive, proactive ways, whilst strengthening me to change, as I put these new approaches into practice (3).

I am then able to take responsibility for tackling each issue in line with God’s will (4).

As I start to change my approach and take action, I experience a growing sense of healing and relief (5).

Over the days, weeks, months and years that follow, as I learn to put each new way forward into practice, I give thanks, because I know that God is working to bring about good for me through everything that happens in my life (6).


References 

1. I am not alone because the Father is with me. 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 16:32-3; NLT).

2. 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).

3. You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall (2 Samuel 22:29; NIV).

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

I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart (Psalm 40:8; NIV).

5. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground (Psalm 143:10; NIV). 

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

13.9.22: Call me

Context: At the end of an eventful day, I was thanking God for all I had experienced, when suddenly this little prayer began to rise in my mind. Each line led to the next, until it was finished almost before I knew it. I’m so grateful to God for offering me a fresh start every day, bringing new opportunities for prayer, praise, thanks, rejoicing, comfort, repentance, forgiveness and service.

I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name (Isaiah 45:3; NLT). 

Call me to your path each day, Lord,
Draw me to your side.

Take me in your arms each day,
Forgive my foolish pride.

Bind me to your heart each day, Lord, 
Keep me close to you.

Merge my soul with yours each day, 
Then help me start anew.

His mercies begin afresh each morning (Lamentations 3:23; NLT).


References 

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:15-18; NIV).

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).

12.9.22: When I’m rushing

Following my blog about being introduced to my ‘Pause’ button a few days ago (see https://wp.me/p45bCr-ccE), I discovered yesterday that I also have available a ‘Slow’ button, a ‘Stop’ button and a ‘Rest’ button. This is very exciting, because I’ve never consciously recognised, or been able to access, any of these inner control buttons before. Here is what sprang from this healing realisation:

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…

When I’m rushing,
I press Slow, Lord,

When I want to,
I press Pause;

When I need to,
I press Stop, Lord,

Then I Rest,
Within your hands.

…and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28-9; NLT).


References

Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. On the seventh day God had finished all the work of creation, and so, on that seventh day, God rested. God blessed the seventh day and called it sacred, because on it God rested from all the work of creation (Genesis 21-3; TIB).

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile” (Mark 6:31; NLT).

11.9.22: Heaven on earth #2

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10; RSV). 

During an on-line conversation yesterday morning, a friend and I were discussing free will. I was praying in between reading and responding to their messages, and suddenly saw that when everyone freely chooses to do God’s will out of love, we will all live in heaven on earth.

Until that blessed day arrives, each of us can help the world to move towards it, by treating everyone with love, no matter how they behave towards us.

All this became much clearer in my mind when I was praying at bedtime: we can live in heaven on earth individually, and we can also live this way collectively. Free will means that the choice is ours.

When you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will (Leviticus 22:29; NKJV).

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ (Ephesians 5:2; NLT).


References

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

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


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

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

Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you (Luke 6:28; NLT).

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

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them (Romans 12:9; NLT). 

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

Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:17; NLT).

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us (Luke 11:4; NLT).

We have all sinned against you (Jeremiah 14:20; NLT).

10.9.22: Heaven on earth #1

  • I woke very early and began to pray, longing to meet Jesus face to face in heaven. Then this little dialogue came into my mind, starting with a very familiar question:

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? (Psalm 42;2; NIV).


  • It crossed my mind that there would surely be so many people crowding around Jesus that my chance of even glimpsing him in heaven would be very small. However, I then saw that in heaven we will all be like Jesus:

We will be like him (1 John 3:2; NLT).


  • This means there will always be more than enough of Jesus to go round, because he will be fully present within everyone in heaven, just as he is on earth:

The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21; NLT).


  • So I don’t have to wait until after my death to meet Jesus, because I can already see him here, if I look with the eyes of love. This makes my life “heaven on earth”:

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


  • Living in heaven on earth means consciously recognising and loving Christ in everyone, without exception:

Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him (Luke 24:31; NLT).


  • Fortunately, living in heaven on earth doesn’t depend on my being well enough to serve in major ways that require lots of energy and strength:

My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9; NKJV).


  • Thus, whatever I do for others serves Christ within them. This includes, for example, every smile, greeting, chat, hug, encouragement, gift, prayer, or kindness, however small:

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:49; NIV). 

9.9.22: On pause (with thanks to M.O.)

I’m deeply grateful to a very good friend, who gave me the best possible birthday gift yesterday. Whilst discussing a lengthy project she is working on, she casually mentioned that it was currently “on pause”, though her goal had not changed, and she would continue working towards it when she was ready.

The phrase “on pause” caught my imagination immediately. She had developed the technique of consciously pressing her inner “pause” button, then setting a task aside for a time while she attended to other priorities. This idea came as a real breakthrough for me, as a driven, perfectionist person. My way is to keep on working at a task until it’s as perfect as I can possibly make it, heedless of the personal cost in terms of fatigue, headaches, migraines and loss of sleep.

After feeding my praise and excitement back to her, I thanked her warmly for what she had shared with me. Then I said that I wanted to pause the conversation, so I could write down her words before I forgot them. This took only a few seconds, after which we resumed our discussion. Later, as we parted with a hug, I resolved to embrace pressing “pause” as a new technique to add to my repertoire of coping skills.

Whilst working on a blog later the same day, I was amazed to hear myself say to my husband, “I’ll put this on pause for now”. With that, I laid down my iPad and walked away from my task voluntarily. There was no sense of stress, reluctance, or having to make a huge, conscious effort, neither did I put off taking a break until physical needs forced me out of my chair. This was a completely new behaviour for me. God’s healing is truly amazing! So I now have a specific way to set myself free from the inner pressure which drives me to complete my task, regardless of how I feel, how tired I am, or how late the hour.

NB: After a short break I was able to finish what I was doing, and go to bed at a sensible time for once!

💟 I have prayed for everyone who visits this website today, as always.
May God bless you all. With love from Ruth xxxxx

8.9.22: Starting afresh

Today is my 70th birthday, and it marks a fresh start here on my blog, as outlined yesterday (https://wp.me/p45bCr-cbb). From today, until a review in one month’s time, I will be sharing much more directly what God gives me, without trying to shape it into poetry or articles. Instead, my blogs will take the form of an honest daily, spiritual diary.

Hopefully, this change will enable me to continue communicating with you, whilst reducing my workload appropriately as my health deteriorates. Introducing this change is exciting, and makes me feel much more optimistic about the future, no matter what it may hold. So, here is the first entry in my new spiritual diary.

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” (Genesis 28:16; NLT).

Lord, please help me to remember that I live in your presence. I want to be conscious of your nearness, day and night.

As I get older, you’re slowly revealing the contents of my unconscious mind. Please help me to learn from all you show me. Thank you for everything you bring out of my inner darkness. By the time I die, I want to have discovered, faced and accepted as many as possible of the treasures hidden there, however challenging this process may be.

Help me to shine as a beacon of your love wherever I am and in all circumstances, confident that everything is just as you wish it to be. May I learn from all I experience.

Lord, my life here is an exile and a pilgrimage. Whatever happens, please help me to keep on heading back home to you, whilst doing what I can to serve those I encounter along the way. Thank you for taking care of everything else.

I ask all this in your dear Son’s name. Amen.

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).

He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness (Daniel 2:22; 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).

God must wait

Context: “The Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion” (Isaiah 30:18; NLT). For me, this is one of the most remarkable verses in the Bible.

God longs for a two-way relationship with us, suffers with us through all our trials and sorrows, and is always ready to help: “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).

YHWH longs to be gracious to you (Isaiah 30:18; TIB). 

During my time here, Lord,
Learning to live,
You have been waiting
To help me forgive.

During my time here, Lord,
Each time I wept,
You have been longing
To help me accept.

During my time here, Lord,
Learning to care,
You have been eager
To help me in prayer.

After my time here, Lord,
Learning to love,
You will be ready
To greet me, above.

So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him (Luke 15:20; NLT).