Tag Archives: life

Springs in Dry Valley – Psalm 84

O Lord,
I sing when I am with you,
in your presence,
I am safe and secure.

I rely on you for my strength,
my purpose,
my hope.

When life is a dry valley,
you are the one
who brings water,
flowing,
refreshing,
life-giving.

Lord,
I long to be with you,
rather than anywhere else.

I come
and sit
and revel in your blessings.

Psalm 84

Psalm 84 (CEV)

The Joy of Worship

84 Lord God All-Powerful,
    your temple is so lovely!
Deep in my heart I long
    for your temple,
    and with all that I am
    I sing joyful songs to you.

Lord God All-Powerful,
    my King and my God,
sparrows find a home
    near your altars;
    swallows build nests there
    to raise their young.

You bless everyone
who lives in your house,
    and they sing your praises.
You bless all who depend
    on you for their strength
    and all who deeply desire
    to visit your temple.
When they reach Dry Valley,
    springs start flowing,
    and the autumn rain fills it
    with pools of water.
Your people grow stronger,
    and you, the God of gods,
    will be seen in Zion.

Lord God All-Powerful,
the God of Jacob,
    please answer my prayer!
You are the shield
    that protects your people,
    and I am your chosen one.
    Won’t you smile on me?

10 One day in your temple
is better
    than a thousand
    anywhere else.
I would rather serve
    in your house,
    than live in the homes
    of the wicked.

11 Our Lord and our God,
you are like the sun
    and also like a shield.
You treat us with kindness
    and with honor,
    never denying any good thing
    to those who live right.

12 Lord God All-Powerful,
    you bless everyone
    who trusts you.

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Book Review: The Amazing Technicolour Pyjama Therapy by Emily Ackerman

The Amazing Technicolour Pyjama Therapy by Emily Ackerman was reccommended to me by someone else who suffers from chronic illness.  It is unusual to find a book that comes at ‘living with’ from a faith perspective, so I thought I would give it a go.

This post will review it, at some point I may write reflecting on what it says to me where I am.

Emily writes this book from her own perspective and experience of being a doctor before illness put an end to her professional career, so she writes with true understanding.  It is based, if you hadn’t guessed from the title (and I hadn’t – that’s how much brain fog I have!) around the story of Joseph – he of the Technicolour Dreamcoat fame, and the losses he had to face in his life.

There are chapters about a wide range of issues involved in facing life-changing issues.  Chapters range from working out how to get the rest that you need, family issues, work, church and faith, and a final one on facing terminal illness.  At all points practical, emotional and spiritual challenges are tackled.  The sub-title is ‘And Other Ways to Fight Back Against Life-Changing Illness’ and that is essentially what it is, a book to face the reality of where you are and perhaps find a (better) way to live with that.

The book is written with a very jaunty appearance.  An easy to read font, nice arty squiggles and some cartoons – which are very funny!  Each chapter is broken down into manageable chunks if that is all you can manage.  It is interspersed with helpful bible passages and at the end of each chapter there is a ‘For Reflection’ section, with questions to help you do just that.  Each chapter then concludes with some witty and poignant quotes.

But for all it’s jolly appearance, The Amazing Technicolour Pyjama Therapy is not an ‘easy read’.  Much of what it says is profound, and I had to keep stopping, sometimes for days, to let it sink in and work out what that meant for me.  The Reflective questions were particularly helpful with this.  This is not a book to jolly you along, or I didn’t find it so, but a book to make you really stop and think at where you are with your illness and it’s effect on your life.

Much of this book was very helpful.  However, I did find some of it a bit simplistic, for example regular comment is made on ‘choosing’ to think or behave differently.  If only it were that simple, I wouldn’t need to be reading this book!  Perhaps that’s something I need to work on… Or the comment that, “every believer will be useful in heaven” (p186), the kind of comment that I find really unhelpful, but it may be just what someone else needs to know.

I was also slightly disturbed by Chapter 11 on Healing, where I read a suggestion that sin can be the cause of our illness, or illness used as a discipline.  This is certainly not my theology.

However, it is always good for a book to have parts that bring you up short and think, ‘do I believe that?’ ‘What do I believe?’  And I was delighted to discover someone with the same analogy as mine of Sweeping Things Under the Carpet!

So, all in all, if you are looking for something to help you learn to ‘live with’ and even live well with this a useful book.  It will offer you practical advice as well as challenge attitudes.  It is going to keep me thinking for a while…

Thank you Emily for writing it.

All Done

It is done.
I can do no more.
I have given my all,
my life,
all that I am.

Given it to you.

Given it for you.

Given to all.

Given for all.

Lord,
as I look on your all,
your sacrifice,
your offering,
your giving
I stand in awe,
in worship,
in feeling unworthy
and incapable
of living up to it.

But you call me to you,
and you call me to follow,
to live,
to love,
to be
in your love
and in your name.

I kneel at your cross
and ask
that as your life flows from you,
it flows in and through me,
that I may
show some spark of you
in this world.

Only through you

John 19: 28-37 (CEV)

The Death of Jesus

28 Jesus knew that he had now finished his work. And in order to make the Scriptures come true, he said, “I am thirsty!” 29 A jar of cheap wine was there. Someone then soaked a sponge with the wine and held it up to Jesus’ mouth on the stem of a hyssop plant. 30 After Jesus drank the wine, he said, “Everything is done!” He bowed his head and died.

A Spear Is Stuck in Jesus’ Side

31 The next day would be both a Sabbath and the Passover. It was a special day for the Jewish people, and they did not want the bodies to stay on the crosses during that day. So they asked Pilate to break the men’s legs and take their bodies down. 32 The soldiers first broke the legs of the other two men who were nailed there. 33 But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, and they did not break his legs.

34 One of the soldiers stuck his spear into Jesus’ side, and blood and water came out. 35 We know this is true, because it was told by someone who saw it happen. Now you can have faith too. 36 All this happened so that the Scriptures would come true, which say, “No bone of his body will be broken” 37 and, “They will see the one in whose side they stuck a spear.”