Thy will be done…

I have mixed feelings about the recent week or two – our government is submitting to socioeconomic pressure to lift lock down while we are seeing second spikes appearing in other countries that, perhaps, eased them too early.  Suffice to say I think this particular virus will be with us for some time to come, so we have to learn to adapt and hopefully we will prevail where others have so far failed.

This week, for many of us, we have been adopting new working practices in line with social distancing, moving into new working environments, or perhaps spring cleaning all of our collective hoard of old documents, manuals, coffee sachets ten years-out-of-date hiding in corners of drawers, and so on.  One thing that remains constant in all of this is that Gods Will is ever present.

Sometimes we are driven by human desires and needs; a workplace example might be an instruction from a manager, who in turn are dealing with the demands placed on them.  Sometimes we are driven by forces that don’t make any sense; maybe an urge to do something different, to go someplace, to say a particular thing.  It is at times like these that we need to be aware of who or what is driving it.

When you recognise these circumstances, it is essential to know whether it is God-given or not. There is no hiding the fact that there are forces at work against the will of God; the battles have raged for centuries. The thing to remember is that the war is already won, through the one final sacrifice and resurrection of God’s Son, our saviour Jesus Christ.   As such, any power of evil has no claim on any us, no right to demand anything of us, so long as Jesus is at the very centre of our heart evil will dissipate before us.  When you believe there is a power urging you to do something, place your trust in Jesus and pray, if it is against the will of God it will vanish, but if it is God-given it will persist (FYI: God is very, very patient, and very, very persistent).  We are to be subservient to Gods will, but only because we have free will to choose to do so; we get to choose whether we act or not (mostly, God will face down any argument you have with love and reason to persuade you otherwise and not by force and anger). You have to recognise the gentleness of the impulse as opposed to a push in the back.

There is a prayer in one of my books that reflects on will very nicely; it goes like this:

My Father, help me as a follower of Christ
to say “Your will be done”.
You would not have me accept your will
because I must, but because I may.
You would have me take it,
not with resignation, but with joy,
not with the absence of murmur,
but with the song of praise . . .
Teach me that your love is wise.
Guide me not blindfold, but with open eyes . . .
Give me the blessedness of the man
whose delight in in your law,
who can tell of your statutes rejoicing the heart.
I shall obey your will in perfect freedom
when I can say, ‘your Spirit is good’.

George Matheson. A Book of Prayers, Lion Publishing 1988

We have free will, to accept Jesus, to accept God’s wisdom, His gifts and to rejoice in life no matter what it may hold for us right now. We must open our eyes and our ears for His guidance; we do not walk blindly through the light or darkness.

We can listen to thunder, marvel at lightning, hear the scream of the wind in our ears and cower in the facelessness of a virus, but that is not where you will find God’s voice. It may be in a whisper to your soul, or it may be in a rush of warmth in your heart as it fills with the love of creation.

We begin with acceptance of His will; by accepting that we are His children and therefore His agents, ambassadors & messengers.

Through God we will prevail with His strength and guidance, for the glory of His Kingdom upon this earth.

May God bless us all.

A time for …

…prayer, music and worship.

A time for reflection, for taking a deep breath, to take a moment.

To breathe in deeply and release it slowly, to centre ourselves in preparation for prayer, to be right with ourselves so we can truly and honestly open our hearts to God.

You may have noticed it’s been a while since I wrote anything…

Surprise!!!

Now here’s two posts in such a short time 🙂 I think I’ve set myself a new record; either that or the content is appallingly bad.

My lack of writing is partly due to world crisis, partly because I am busy with work and home, but also I’ve been busy taking time out, for myself, because sometimes we need to care for ourselves as much as we do for others; to ensure I stay grounded so that I can still help others.

This is something I encourage you all to do when you feel stretched.

I am lucky, I will admit that … I have my work, my books, my prayers (and prayer books), my bible(s), music, games and my musical instruments, not to mention support from church and members of the congregation even though we are all separated at this time.

I am aware that others are not so fortunate. Many have lost their jobs, many have lost family and friends, many are still unable to be free to enjoy their lives or their faith in the way that some of us can. I see some of this in our prayer lists.

Trust that if you find yourselves in any of those circumstances, our prayers, and some form of assistance from God is or will be with you in one form or another – you may not be aware of it but God can make a change in one area of life that affects a change in another, and so the butterfly effect kicks in, and eventually the Kingdom of Heaven will arrive and with it away goes all of the suffering, the turmoil, the hatred, the anger and the sorrow.

To help keep myself grounded in these troubled times I tried to do what I’ve seen others on the internet do and use a little time to learn something new. I picked up my keyboards and revisited a tune that I started way back in the late ’80s. I felt a desire, a nudge, a gentle push to do something with it so I did; it has been a long time since I last played. I obtained a copy of FL Studio and proceeded to learn how to use it (I still have so much to learn).

My attempt at musical mastery(ish) is available on Soundcloud, I hope you like it.

FL Studio also has a video generator built in so I’ve put a copy of the song on YouTube with a video – can you believe that, it’s certainly not up to professional label music video standards but that I could do that myself using the tools available is brilliant.

Note: some of our tools as Christians are our faith and resolve, the love of Jesus, sharing the peace, our tranquillity, our voice, morals and ethics, Gods wisdom, all our prayers, the Holy Spirit – the list is long; you can have a go at listing some yourself.

If you like the song, leave a comment and share it. However, if you don’t like it, fair enough, don’t listen to it, but it may grow on you – I already caught my one person I know humming the tune without realising they were doing it.

There is a prayer in the middle…

We’re on our knees Lord 
We’re begging you please Lord
We’ve got a huge problem down here
We’re all dying down here
We’re praying you can hear us
Please come and be near us
Reach out your hand and save us.

God bless us all.

Hope

Sometimes life can feel like it’s dragging us down, sometimes it can feel like we’re hacking our way through a jungle to get stuck wading through quicksand, but just like the old Tarzan movies when people get stuck there is always a vine to hold onto, for everyone, that vine is Jesus.  Once we are holding onto that vine, becoming one with it, we know safety is assured, our saviour is on their way and we can live to enjoy life once more.

The vine and the branches
15 ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…

John 15:1-17 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

There is always hope in life as long as we reach out for the vine that can save us.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. John 15:1

Hope is the subject we’re covering in Celebrate Recovery (CR) so it’s been on my mind lately amongst the turmoil.  It’s odd how much we can find God is with us when we are feeling a bit useless (Matthew 5:1-12).  The other day, after feeling a bit low, I decided to try to write the prayer to open the Hope session of CR (it’s my turn on the rota) so I thought I’d share it with you, to use if you so wish.

Lord Jesus,
You are our flame of hope, rising above us like the pillar of fire before Moses and the tribes of Israel as they escaped from suffering.
Fill us all, we pray, with joy and peace, as we place our trust in You,
so that we may overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Hope binding us all together to the vine of life.
May we have rest and peace in our hearts.
We ask that You guard our minds through the night to protect us from our fears, our doubts, and our regrets.
May Your healing be upon our hearts, our minds, and our bodies at the break of dawn.
Restore us, Lord, heal our wounds, instil Your energy within our souls and hope eternal within our hearts.
Allow us to find new strength through Your words, teach us O Lord.
We thank you for Your love that we can live and enjoy life again.
Help us, we pray, to wake up every day with hope.
Of all this, we ask, of all this we pray
through You, our brother,
our saviour, Jesus Christ
AMEN