Friday, 8 April 2016

Time, and the timeless Word of God

A few years ago my sister bought me a clock for my birthday.  It was black, wrought iron and matched the curtain pole and the light shade in our bedroom.  I loved it and wanted it on my bedside cabinet.  The trouble was, we already had and still have a clock there, a radio clock with an alarm.  This clock is digital and the time shines red in the dark.  I like to see the time during the night so I  kept it where it was.  I then had two clocks on my bedside cabinet. 

As I looked at them they emphasised to me life, and the choices of how I fill the time spent in it.  One was decorative, cannot be seen in the dark, and had no alarm.  The other can be seen shining brightly in the dark and has an alarm that is able to tell all who hear it that the dawn is coming.  I have a choice, as a Christian, whether I carry on as a person who knows Jesus as my saviour but does not share the good news of the gospel, or whether I shine that light that has come into my life in this dark world, and contribute to the salvation of others who don't know Him.
 
At that time I was attending a writers' circle and a lady at that week's meeting related an incident when a peacock was amongst a group of children.  She said that the children gazed in awe when the peacock displayed its beautiful tail.  Before that, the peacock had just been another bird to the children. 

 I have a small peacock ornament in one of my plant pots.  I noticed one day that the body had faded but the tail was as beautiful and bright as when I had been given it some years ago.  The body of the peacock is synthetic, but the tail is made from real peacock feathers. What was man made had faded, what was created by God had not.
We have all been given gifts, as part of the body of Christ, for building one another up to spiritual maturity, and we must all function with those gifts.  Otherwise, the body of Christ on earth will be like my peacock, part man made, part God created.  That which is of man fades with time, only that which is of God can remain forever.

The power in the word of God is amazing.   It is foolishness to the carnal mind, but to those who are born of God's Spirit it  has the power to transform us into the image of our Lord, to draw all mankind to it, (for just like those children gazed in awe at the beautiful tail of the peacock, so too does that word of God have that kind of power over mankind).  It has the power to  do what man can not do, and has the ability to remove doubt and cause faith to increase.  

An example of this to me was when, this morning, I asked the Lord to give me a word of encouragement regarding His promise of healing my body (as my trust in this long, on-going trial was being severely tested over the last few weeks ).  After asking Him this I opened my Bible to where I had previously underlined Matthew ch. 21 vs. 21 and 22 which reads :-
'And Jesus answered them Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and never doubt, you will not only do what has been done to this fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will be done.  And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.'

We are told in Romans ch. 15 v. 4 
'For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.'

I could not have had better encouragement to endure the trial and continue trusting in the Lord for the promise of God (my healing) which is 'Yes' in Jesus.

On the front of my computer there is a picture of a place north of where we live.  I have always had a scripture on this picture which is also great encouragement to me every time I turn on my computer.



 
I have been shown many times in that word that there is a time for everything, including healing, and that my times are in God's hands.
 
All that is necessary for me to receive that promise to me is to continue to 'trust' and 'believe'.

 
 

Monday, 28 March 2016

Will He find faith?

A few weeks ago  I was anointed with oil and prayed for by the pastor, and a few others, of the church group I had been attending since we have moved here.  It had taken some time to get this to happen as when I first asked if this was done there I was told that it was not.  Before they prayed the pastor started speaking to me about 'religion'.  Then, when they prayed, one of the men prayed for 'the spirit of religion to be removed.'   I thought this was quite strange, but did not say anything then.  When we came down from the upstairs room where the prayer had taken place I noticed a plaque on a wall with the word 'achieved' on it.  I thought 'Oh, that might be a nice sign to say that my healing has been achieved'.
 
Several days later, when nothing had started to change in my body, I was reminded of what had been spoken of regarding 'religion' and the prayer for the removal of 'the spirit of religion'.  I thought 'Are they saying that the anointing with oil and prayer for the sick was regarded as 'religion', a spirit that had to be removed'?  The following Sunday I questioned the man who had prayed regarding this and didn't really get a satisfying answer.
  
That morning my friend said that when she had come in to the church a lady had come over to her and said that the anointing with oil was in the Old Testament and was not to be done now.  My friend told her that it was in the New Testament and that I had actually had an instant healing through this being done when I first became born of God's Spirit in Australia, and at that time the Lord had shown me through the scriptures that it had been the 'prayer of faith' made by the elders of that church that had brought the healing about.

For several weeks the words 'Will He find faith'? have been constantly coming into my mind.  All this is now causing me to wonder if the 'achieved' I saw on the wall was a message to me of proof of what I believe the Lord was pointing out to me had been achieved,  the fact that there is a lack of faith in the church. 
 
Hebrews ch. 11 v. 6 says:- 'But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.' 
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  If we mix the Word of God with the word of man, or take away or add anything to scripture,  then we are in danger of 'making void the Word of God through the traditions of man,'  as did the Pharisees in Mark ch. 7 v. 13

I believe that a dream I had while all this was gong on, and a scripture I opened to the next day, is confirming what I feel is being revealed to me here:- The dream may appear to be a little crude, but I believe it was necessary to reveal what the Lord was showing me.
 
In my dream I was given a large beautiful house to live in.  It stood apart from other houses and had everything I needed in it and more. I walked around to a street  where a lady was saying how lovely was her house.  There were large houses in that street, but something caught my eye in the gutters.
At first I thought it was water running down the gutters.  Then on looking closer I could see it was a substance that condoms are made of that was lining the gutters. Then I awoke from the dream.
That day, when I opened my Bible to read, I opened to a page that had a section of a verse underlined.  I must have done it a while back.  It was the last part of Jeremiah ch. 5 v.7....'and trooped to the houses of harlots.' 
Although this is referring to the Israel of the old testament, the church is classed as 'spiritual Jews', (Romans ch. 2 v. 29,) and  the same scriptures apply spiritually to the church, God's spiritual Israel. 

Now the dream made sense to me.  I believe it is reflecting that the church, or 'house of God,  (as the church is the one combined 'house' that God dwells in)  is committing spiritual adultery when mixing the Word of God with mans' doctrine, and can become many 'houses' with mixed doctrines, through what should be the Water of the Word of God being replaced by the doctrine of man.


We have allowed the spiritual thief to rob us of the faith which comes from hearing the Word of God, and therefore miss out on the content of that faith, which is the 'substance' of things hoped for.  A few days ago I believe I had an incident happen which could be a sign to accompany this.

I was looking out of my lounge window onto the garden at the front of the house.  A magpie had landed on the soil and had a large white object in his beak. He dropped the object and started to dig a
hole in the soil using his beak.  Then he picked the object up, dropped it into the hole, and covered it over with soil once more using his beak.
When I went out to see what the bird had buried, I was amazed to find out that it was a large piece of fat with bird seed contained in it. I thought 'No wonder the Magpie is called 'the thief.'  It reminds me of the thief (Satan)  stealing and hiding the food of the birds 'heavenly creatures' ( those born of the Spirit.)  Isn't the enemy trying to bury the word of God in earthly doctrine (the doctrine of man) in so many churches these days? 
As 'Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God' (Romans ch. 10 v. 17),
  the Word of God must be above all other voices in my life, and I must not let circumstance cause doubt in my mind regarding the promises of God which are 'Yes' in Jesus. (2 Corinthians ch. 1 v. 20)
 
A recent example of this happening in my life is as follows:-
 
Because my healing had not come as my mind expected it to come after the 'sign' experience with the television programme, (contained in my last post)  and the prayer with anointing of oil finally coming about, I started to be a little fearful that the Lord was not going to heal me.
I had thought that my healing was going to be achieved when the pastor and elders of that church had prayed for me and anointed me with oil, and I thought the television program showing a dark skinned man praying was a sign of who was to pray because the pastor of that particular church was also dark skinned.  However, what was actually 'achieved' through all of this happening was me being shown that there is a lack of faith in the church in general.  There was no scripture to connect with the fact that the person who was to pray would be dark skinned, and I could see that the purpose of the people who prayed was to try to convince me that the anointing of oil was 'religion' as opposed to being 'instruction to the church', and that they believed that I had a 'spirit of religion' which had to be removed.  I believe absolutely that those instructions of anointing with oil are still to be carried out in the church today, and if a person praying for someone does not believe this then there is a lack of faith there.

Yesterday I went with my friend to a church gathering I felt led to go to that I had noticed while driving to my friend's house.  The pastor there spoke on Psalm 16.  When I opened my Bible to Psalm 16 I found that some time ago I had underlined one of the verses in that Bible.  It was verse 9 b which reads  'my body also dwells secure'
 
This was the only encouragement that could have convinced me that the promise of healing that I have had from the Lord will come about.  My convincing had to be from the hearing of God's Word, whether that be the prayer of faith of an elder or my own faith that comes from the hearing of God's Word , which I felt was spoken to me through v. 9b of Psalm 16.  I have prayed, and often do pray, for the Lord to increase my faith in Him, and He encourages me to trust absolutely in what He speaks to me regardless of what my eyes see and my ears hear.

 

Today I noticed a dove in my front garden and I took a picture of it through the blinds.  I thought it might fly away if I opened the blinds to get a clearer shot.  In the picture the blinds make the dove look like it is behind prison bars.
Even this picture portrays to me the Holy Spirit (represented by the dove) being imprisoned (deprived of freedom of movement), which I believe is happening in the church.

I believe all of what I have gone through has shown me that the Holy Spirit is being restricted by the church allowing the spiritual enemy to come in and rob us of our spiritual food - the Word of God, thereby robbing us of the blessings that God has for us.

When I first asked about this at that church I was taken to an upper room by an elder to discuss it.  In the room was a book entitled 'You are being used', and I believe even that speaks about how I have been used to bring out the fact that there is a lack of faith in God's word in the church today.

I continue to say:-
I will love Thee O Lord my strength. (Psalm 18 v.1) as I wait upon Him for my healing.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Am I being used?

For the last three months, since we have moved to this house, I have been attending a church a few miles away.  I would like to share some things that have been happening while I have been going there. I have written it all down and it will probably be done in three posts and, as the situation is still on-going - and as 'I know not what tomorrow brings' - it could be more than three.

Saturday, 2nd January 2016

I went to Emmaus charity shop,  saw a bottle of olive oil on a shelf, thought 'strange'.  That night I was in much pain and could not sleep.  I always ask the Lord for help.  Suddenly in the middle of the night all pain disappeared.  It was completely strange, as I have been in this 'Job' situation (with pain in my legs and joints for well over a year), yet with a promise of complete healing for a situation I have been in for over twenty odd years being given to me by the Lord when this started.  I turned back and forth in the bed with no pain at all and knew it could only be a supernatural situation brought forth by the Lord.  The bottle of oil came into my mind and I felt some kind of connection.  I said to the Lord, inspired by a scripture which came into my mind.  'Give Your beloved sleep', and went straight off to sleep.  I then had a dream in which I saw two dead fish.  Suddenly they came alive.

This reminded me of dead mankind (as in Adam all die) coming alive in Christ (so in Christ shall all be made alive) through Jesus' instruction in Mark ch. 1 v. 17 to 'Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men', and how  the 'dead fish' come 'alive in Christ' once we are born again of God's Spirit.  I also was reminded of how we have access to the gifts of the Spirit including access to healing and miracles.  Was the Lord pointing this out regarding the bottle of oil and the fact that I had seen it in a place with the name 'Emmaus'?
It was on the road to Emmaus that two of the apostles met Jesus, but they did not recognise Him.  It was only when He broke bread and gave it to them that their eyes were opened and they did recognise Him.  The bread represents the word of God and we are able to recognise Him through that word given to us with the Lord's blessing.  The Lord is that word which is the same yesterday, today and forever. and we are not to be carried away by strange and varied teachings. (Hebrews ch. 13 vs. 8,9....).
 
The next day I shared this and some of my testimony with a man who I believe is an elder in the church, saying that I had prayed for the gifts of healing to operate there and I wondered if the Lord might be indicating that this would happen through my experience, and if it was a time for me to be healed by the anointing of oil and the prayer of faith.  I had previously asked him if they anointed with oil there, to which he had answered 'No', but said that he would discuss it with the pastor.  After the service I went to the charity shop to see if the oil was still there. It was not,  and the staff there said that they did not know of a bottle of oil being on the shelf the day before.  I believe it was supernaturally done by the Lord to reflect the fact that it had not been done in the church.

On Monday 11th January my husband and I were on the way home from a town a few miles away and he mentioned that he would like some roast pork. We called into a store and he dropped me off outside the entrance and said he would wait in the car park.  I went in to find that there was none available.  When I came out I looked for him in the car par but could not find him.  I searched and searched but could not see our car.  Suddenly my mobile phone was ringing in my bag.  When I got it out I noticed that the name that came up was Merlyn, my husband.  I said 'Hello, hello', but there was no response.  Then I remembered that I also had my husband's mobile in my bag.  It appeared to be completely supernatural.  I heard a car beeping and it was my husband parked a way off.

Suddenly, I could see a spiritual meaning to it all, relating to what was going on at the time.  The mobile that belonged to my husband being in my handbag and calling me on my mobile, yet with no response, reminded me of a situation where the Lord (the bride's husband) is calling His people to obedience through the instruction in His word, but that word is being made void because the church is not acting on that word.  In the book of James we are told that if anyone is sick, they are to call for the elders of the church and they will anoint them with oil and the prayer of faith will make them well.

That night there was a drama on the television called 'Judge John Deed.'  One of the stories in it was a court case between the medical profession and a couple concerning a young child.  For two years since the child was born, he had been kept in hospital because he had problems, his heart kept stopping.  The medical profession (doctors) had restarted his heart several times but the child was in a coma and they wanted to stop resuscitating him.  However, his parents said that they were Christians and believed that God would heal their son.  It was eventually granted by the judge that the parents had the right to see if their son would be healed through their faith.  Shortly after, the child came out of the coma and was healed.  The doctors said it could only be a miracle, as nothing as far as science was concerned could account for his healing.  The father of the child, who had prayed, was a dark skinned man and I can not help thinking that maybe the pastor in the church that I attend, who is himself dark skinned, is supposed to anoint me with oil and pray for me.

When the drama on the television started I knew what was going to happen and told my husband that a miracle was going to happen.

In church I had seen upon the wall in the tea room a plaque with the words 'expect a miracle' written on it, and over the door one with the word 'believe' written on it.

My friend in Lancashire  called me a few days ago and I told her where I was going to church and that I believe the pastor had some kind of connection with a group in the past called 'Hot chocolate'.  She told me that one of their songs was 'I believe in miracles.'

When I first spoke to the elder in the upstairs room of the church, telling him about my testimony and the bottle of oil, I looked to the left and saw a book with the words 'You are being used.' on the front cover.  I have to wonder, am I being used by the Lord in this situation?

What I have written here was the first part of what has been happening in my life over the past three months.  God willing, I shall write another part of this testimony.


 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Time out

We are in the process of moving, will be off the blog for a few weeks.
God bless all

Monday, 9 November 2015

He must increase but I must decrease

I love all scripture, but one of the most beautiful verses in the whole of the Bible to me is the first verse of Psalm 18.  It reads 'I will love You O Lord my strength.' When I first came across this verse I felt it was summing up all that I have ever wanted to say to the Lord in one sentence.  For whether I have received blessing, correction, healing, knowledge or anything else from the Lord, these words would express perfectly my thoughts towards Him at all times.  I know that His words to me when I seek Him are always to strengthen me in Him, and I am coming to know that I can do all things in Christ Who strengthens me.
 
If an unbeliever seeks advice or help on any matter, he or she will look to a person, a book or a website that they believe will have knowledge on that particular subject.  How much better that I seek advice from the One who knows all things, and can do all things, including that which is not possible for man to know or do.  The only thing that has ever caused me to question what the Lord tells me is the human knowledge which is stored in my carnal mind.  If man's wisdom had never been fed into my mind there would be nothing to challenge God's words to me, and I would know only God's wisdom.

There are two strengths that are able to dominate my life and the one I try to live by is the strength of my Lord Jesus, the mediator between God and man.  The other one I must try to put to death.  It is the strength that dominated the old me, the one that was born of flesh.  It has a power over the fleshly me if I allow it to, and is a liar, a thief and a murderer by nature, seeking to deceive me with false knowledge and rob me of the blessings of God and eternal life that can only be found in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah ch. 30 vs. 1 and 2 read:- 'Woe to the rebellious children' says the Lord, 'who carry out a plan but not mine: and who make a league, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin, who set out to go down to Egypt without asking for my counsel, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh, and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt.'   
Egypt, here, is spiritually discerned as representing the world, and Pharaoh the strength of that world.  In ch. 31 vs.1 - 3 the Lord continues to remind His people that only woe can come from relying on Egypt and its strength instead of consulting the Lord, saying that the Egyptians are merely men, and not God, and that their strong horsemen and horses are flesh, and not spirit.

John ch. 12 vs. 44 - 50 reads:- 'And Jesus cried out 'He who believes in me believes not in me but in Him who sent me.  And he who sees me sees Him who sent me.


I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.  If anyone hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him;  for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.  He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.  For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has Himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak.  And I know that His commandment is eternal life.  What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden me.'

The Lord showed me a long time ago the meaning of a Hebrew word found in the Bible, the word Chattath, meaning 'to miss the mark'.  It signifies sin in general, and is a very apt term by which to express its nature.  A person is continually aiming at and seeking happiness, but as he does not seek it in God, hence the Scripture represents him as missing his aim, or 'missing the mark'.  I believe that I can continually miss out on blessings by missing the mark when I choose to listen to my carnal mind dictating worldly wisdom rather than listen to the Lord's instruction.  In the new testament the term 'turned back from following Him' is used when some disciples found it too hard to eat and drink the body of the Lord. 
Although it has often been hard to focus, and act upon, what the Lord is telling me above what my carnal mind is telling me, I have found that when I do, His words have become a very real strength in some of my weakest times.

I continue to say:-

Just as John the Baptist said, regarding Jesus, in John ch. 3 v. 30:- 
 'He must increase, but I must decrease.' 
 

 

I too say, regarding Jesus in my life:- 
 'He must increase, but I must decrease.'



Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Shoes

This is a short story that was written whilst I was attending a writer's circle in a town we lived  in a while back.  We were given the title to write on and immediately a story came into my mind which was partly inspired by my near death experience that I had experienced several years previous.
I posted it on my blog shortly after I started it, but feel led to share it again.


Shoes

Mark felt like he had just stepped back in time as he quietly closed the door behind him.  the old man slowly raised himself from his chair behind the counter, bowed his head slightly, and said, ' Good morning to you young sir '.  ' Morning ', the young man replied as he looked around the large dusty room.  Mark had come into the old second hand shop to look for a pair of shoes with very little money, and optimism to match.  For some time now a pessimistic attitude had gradually been taking over his naturally pleasant personality.  Slowly he scanned the cluttered shop, his eyes adjusting to the dim light.  It was getting harder to live on job seekers allowance and at the moment, although he was only seventeen, the prospect of finding work with a decent wage seemed to be as much in another era as did this shop... only in the far distant future. 
'I ... er, I'm looking for a pair of shoes, size eight ' Mark said slowly, ' strong leather shoes. '   The old man came around the counter and limped over to a dark corner of the shop.  ' These are size eight ' he said, as he bent down and picked up a pair of dark brown shoes.  Blowing the dust from them he held them towards the young man.  Mark took the shoes and examined them.  They were strong shoes, leather too, and hardly worn by the look of them.  ' How much? ' he asked, as he pulled his old worn trainers from his feet and eased the dark brown shoes on in their place.  They were a perfect fit.  ' Three pounds ' said the old man, with a tone that said ' No offers '.  ' Three pounds ! ' Mark said, rather too loudly.  ' I could practically buy a new pair for that '  He was fed up with the old cliche which had now become part of his life as he traipsed around charity shops and second hand shops whenever he needed something, and which rarely got him a reduction in the price anyway.  He decided he would slip into silent acceptance in future.  ' I'll take them ', he said grudgingly.  He slapped three pound coins onto the counter, behind which the old man was now wrapping the shoes in a newspaper, that lay on the counter, while muttering ' I have to make a living you know ', half to himself and half to the boy, adding ' I'm sorry, I don't have a carrier bag '.  Mister, I wouldn't mind being in your shoes ' Mark said, as he took the package and walked to the door.  As he tugged at the latch he turned to see the old man now bathed in a brilliant shaft of light that was coming through the open door, and saw something in the dark, deep set eyes that made him feel a little uneasy at what he had just said.
 
That evening Mark was getting ready to go out.  It was Friday, the day his mother made his favourite meal, spaghetti bolognaise and although he loved his mother very much, even this weekly event had become a monotonous chore in the light of his poor social life.  He hated not having enough money to be able to go out somewhere special with his friends even one night a week.  He hated also the fact that his mother had to do a cleaning job every day to make ends meet ever since his father had left her for another woman.  How he would love to be earning enough not only to enjoy his own life, but also to enable her to enjoy her life too.  ' Why couldn't I have been born rich? ' he sighed as, seated on his bed, he reached down and put on his brown leather shoes .....
 
Back in the flat above the second hand shop the old man blinked, suddenly startled as he sat in the antique, worn, once beautiful, burgundy velvet chair.  What a strange feeling, for a split second he had actually felt as if he had been transported into his past, when he had been a boy of seventeen.   The memories came flooding back.  He had been sent at the age of eleven to England to live with his mother's cousin, Rosa, in Northants.  Things were none too good for Jews in Germany in 1939, and his parents had felt that England would be a safer place for their son, Benji.  How he had missed his beautiful homeland, and the family home with its fine furniture and extensive grounds.  He'd had a wonderful, happy childhood, wanting for nothing.  His father had owned a very grand jewellery shop, catering for Berlin's high society, and his mother had always had servants in the house, enabling her to spend a great deal of time with her son.  His parents had intended to follow him to England, but things had happened so quickly after he had arrived at Rosa's.  His mother's letters were regular, once a week for a time, then they started to arrive every few weeks and he began to sense a fear in the beautifully penned lines, a fear which eventually became a deep anxiety that could not be hidden by her over assurance that everything was alright in their homeland.  Eventually the letters had stopped coming altogether.  Weeks turned into months, months into years, and a war with Germany raged that was to ensure he was never to see his beloved parents again.  He would willingly have sacrificed all of the wealth he had been born into not to have had to bear the extreme heartache and suffering that finally learning at the age of seventeen, that his parents had been sent to the gas chambers, had caused him throughout his life.
 
' No, no! ' Mark was flung forward from the bed, sobbing uncontrollably.  ' Mother!, father! he screamed, the feeling of grief was unbearable.  He looked around the unfamiliar room, ' Where was he, this was not aunt Rosa's house, what .... where ... Slowly, comforting reality returned, and Mark realized that the only explanation for what he had just experienced had to be supernatural.  He'd felt as if he had actually been another person, Jewish and born in Berlin.  He'd had a complete memory of a seventeen year old boy living in England, who had just been informed that his parents had been sent to Hitler's gas chambers.  He could not believe what had just happened to him.  ' Are you alright Mark ', his mother's concerned voice travelled up the stairway from the kitchen, where she had been happily washing spaghetti bolognaise from dinner plates.  She always loved Friday nights when she prepared her son's favourite meal.  He had missed out on so much during the five years that her husband had been gone.  ' I heard you shouting '.  ' Uh... yes mum ' he called back to her ' it was nothing, er I just slipped off the bed '.  How could he possibly explain to his mother what had just happened.  He could not explain it to himself.
 
Later that evening he and his friends walked along the same old streets that led to the same old cafe that they congregated in with the same old kids in the same old predicament, jobless and with very little cash to spend.  Every aspect of life had become monotonous and boring to Mark, he felt there was nothing to look forward to.  As they walked they discussed what they would do if they only had money.  ' Even if I had a job, I probably wouldn't have enough to buy the things that I want ', one of Mark's friends spat out angrily, ' what they pay in some of the jobs offered wouldn't buy a pair of designer jeans. '  ' You're better off being a criminal these days' added another friend.  'You're right, ' said Mark ' who says crime doesn't pay.  I wish right now that I was the most famous thief that ever lived '.
Suddenly Mark found himself spinning backwards in a dark tunnel at tremendous speed, noises, smells filling his ears and nostrils, changing by the second from familiar to unfamiliar,.  He had the distinct impression that each change in sound and smell represented an era in time, and that he was being drawn back into those once distant ages.  Fear and fascination mingled in his emotions, fear of what was actually happening to him yet fascination at a deep sense of a great power that was totally in control of the situation, and in whose presence he would be completely safe. 

The spinning gradually ceased and he was aware that, although he was still being drawn backwards, the darkness was disappearing and he seemed to be drifting past scenes that changed almost as if he was being shown an incredibly enhanced slide show.  There were scenes of beautiful mountains, rivers and tribes of foreign looking men on horseback with spears in their hands, and more scenes of soldiers of different nations and different eras, all bright pictures on a dark background.  After a while Mark was suddenly aware of a green glow filling the dark space around him, and of the scenes gradually becoming drawn into this glow, which itself was now before his eyes changing into a scene, a truly breathtaking scene of a magnificent garden of sheer beauty.  Mark had never seen colours of this kind before.  There were flowers of every sort, exquisitly beautiful, alive and in harmony with everything around them, and animals of every kind that showed no sign of aggression towards one another.  What was this strange place where no decay appeared to be present?  It was like Mark's own world and yet totally different.  Mark felt absolute peace as he watched from his position which seemed to be within the scene and yet outside of it.  The feeling of well being in him was immense, and he was aware that it was a feeling he had never experienced before in his life, and was a force that was also reflected in this place before him, and which he had felt in the great power he had known was in control of his strange journey, as if all were connected and from the same origin.
 
Suddenly the beautiful picture began to crumble before his eyes, reverting back to the green glow, which gradually started changing to pale purple and orange colours mingled with shades of grey.  Now Mark saw before him a totally different scene, and was aware that his position had also changed.  His body felt completely restricted, and he was elevated.  A cool breeze brushed across his face carrying with it a strong, pungent smell.  There were sounds also in the air, diverse sounds.  He could hear strong sounds, aggressive, cursing and mocking.  Gentle sobbing sounds also hung in the air, the two sounds combating one another almost as in a tug of war in which two opposing parties wrestled for victory.  Mark turned his throbbing, swollen face to the left as horror slowly became the dominant emotion, eventually struggling with grief at what he saw. 
He looked upon the most beautiful face he had ever seen, the forehead of which was torn by an encompassing circle of long, ugly thorns.  Mark realized that the amazing beauty was coming from the man's eyes and was not a physical attribute.  The deep, dark eyes appeared to reflect a love and compassion beyond comprehension, and something else too was reflected there... It was suffering.  Mark had seen a glimmer of this kind of suffering before, it was back in the second hand shop, in the eyes of the old man as the light from the open door had shone on his face.  He knew immediately that he was not only witnessing, but experiencing the love of his and all of mankind's creator.  It was as if the eyes had the ability to convey to the one gazed upon a love which could never be described with words, but which the one gazed upon had been searching for all his life.  He knew that the blood that flowed from the piercings in this man's head, hands and feet was shed for him.  He knew that the pain, the cramps, intense thirst and dizziness he was feeling in his body was nothing in comparison to the sufferings that this man who hung beside him had been brought to bear.  In that instant, as he looked into those eyes, he knew as surely as the thief whose torment he was now experiencing had, that everything he had ever heard about this man was true. 
He felt himself being made to say, rather than speaking the words, 'Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom ', knowing at the same time that he was only experiencing a glimpse of what had actually happened that day, that for him there was no such suffering requred as that thief would have experienced in those times.  He was living in a time where there was hope for all mankind, a hope that had been bought by this divine Saviour, which all of manking could now search for and have fulfilled through faith in Him.
The magnitude of this revelation was so intense in Mark that even the dimmed physical pain of the torture of his body had little effect on him, and it had been dimmed.  He knew that the physical pain he was experiencing had to be nowhere near the actual pain of crucifixion. 
 
Once again change began taking place as he felt himself ebbing out from the twisted flesh.  His soul ached both with the loathing and longing as he began slowly to be drawn away from this incredible scene, not wanting to remain in the terrible reality of crucifiction, yet his desire to remain in the compassion, love and total protection of those beautiful eyes causing him to dread his departure.  ' Truly, I say to you.... '  The words could be heard plainly by him, even though the scene was fast disappearing.  In dense blackness now, he felt himself once again starting to spin, being pulled backwards.  ' today you will be with Me in Paradise. '  As if in an echo chamber the words vibrated right through his being, over and over until eventually he felt himself slowly emerging from this strange experience as if coming out of anaesthetic in an operating theatre.  ' Whoosh... ' .  There was a blast of cold air against his ear drums as reality returned in time for him to hear himself speaking the last word of the sentence about wanting to be the most famous thief that ever lived.
 
Fully aware of what had happened Mark knew that there was no hope of explaining his experience to his friends.  How could he possibly have had that experience when no actual time had passed.  Even if he thought they would believe him, there was a strange feeling of reluctance to say anything of his experience to them, almost as if it was too precious to share with anyone.  Yet he knew now what it was all about.  His amazing spiritual slide show had portrayed images of what mankind had turned into, and it was aggressive and warlike.  He had been taken right back to what had been originally intended for man, love and harmony with God,  as shown in that beautiful garden. Then he had been shown that he had a choice in this world.  There had been two criminals crucified with Christ, but Mark had only been put in the position of the one who trusted, and asked to be brought into God's kingdom.  He had been shown which choice to make, and it was the positive one in every circumstance that grew from love, trust and hope, not the negative that sprouted from greed, envy and hatred. 

His friends' laughter at what he had said filled the air and gave him time to compose himself, and then he was able to withdraw into listening mode as they continued their negative conversations along to the cafe.  Something had changed inside Mark, a new, or maybe a reviving of an old, attitude.  By the time they got to the cafe he was in a completely different frame of mind.  Instead of the usual doom and gloom conversation, new ideas and encouraging thoughts of work prospects caused him to speak positively about his situation, and by the time they left the cafe Mark's candle of encouragement had become a beacon of hope and determination in the little group.  They had spent this evening in the cafe discussing, not the situation itself, but what they could do about it, and it had all been due to one person's unforgettable experience of love and hope.
 
' Goodnight mum ' Mark shouted as he mounted the stairs to his bedroom.  How strange his experience just a few hours ago in this room, when he had been shown that being born rich also had its griefs.  The anguish of losing his mother had been so real...... .  He had so much to be thankful for.  No even with all the difficulties in his life at the moment, he still would not rather be in anyone else's shoes.  As he started to undress, he noticed the newspaper in the little bin in the corner of the room.  It was the newspaper that the old man had wrapped his shoes in.  Something stood out to him as he focused on it.  He went over and picked it out of the bin.  ' Wanted, ' He read ' young person to train alongside handyman in care home for the elderly.  Good pay and a chance to go further in social services in the future '.  Mark decided he would ring the number given the following Monday, and yes, he would accompany his mother to the local Pentecostal church this Sunday.  She had gone there for as long as he could remember, and he knew deep down that her faith had helped her through the hard times in her life.  He had stopped going with her to the church about two years ago, but he now realized that his attitude to life had changed during those two years.  He had allowed weeds of negativity and cynicism to choke optimism and joy in his life.  Things needed to change.  Then he settled down in his bed with a great feeling of well being as he thought about his incredible day.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Growing in the Lord

As I grow in the Lord I go through many trials, but I know that these trials strengthen me and enable me to trust more in His power, and His ability to change me and take away all fear.
 
In Isaiah ch. 41 v. 13 God encourages Israel saying:- 'For I, the Lord thy God, will hold your right hand, saying unto you, ‘Fear not; I will help you.’
Knowing that the church is the Spiritual Israel of God, I too am encouraged by this verse.

The following is a song that I wrote concerning this which I believe I shared in a post a few years back, but which I feel to share in this post.

Touching Your hand

Touching Your hand I feel a power in me
walking Your way leads me into my destiny
all that I am is what You're making me
Your grace in my life is setting me free

You are my strength, death has no power in me
the battle is won, You are my song of victory
Where there's no fear there is no enemy
Your love in my heart is setting me free

For You are the Father's precious breath of life to me
my soul feels Your love that stirs within me
With You in my life I can be all I'm meant to be
each day as You teach me Your ways

Now is the time, in You must my spirit dwell
time to break free from my shadowy prison cell
Now is the time, time for my soul to rise
time to awake and open my eyes


Kissed by Your mercy, bathed in Your tenderness
now I awake to the touch of Your sweet caress
Fear lies behind me lost in the cold of night
sweet love lies ahead in the warmth of Your light
 














For You are the sun that melts this cold, cold heart of mine
and You are the lamp that lights my darkness
My prayer to You Lord is that within my life You'll shine
each day as You lead me along

Once  we are born again of God's Holy Spirit, we do not die, we fall asleep in Christ as stated in  
1 Thessalonians ch. 4 vs. 13 - 17:-

'Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.  According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever.'
 
So although some of us may not see the Lord's return in our lifetime on this earth, if we have been born again of God's Holy Spirit, believing and trusting in the word spoken to us and allowing ourselves to be changed, then we need not fear death, nor worry about family and friends who have fallen asleep in the Lord,  and are assured through Jesus' prayer in John ch. 17 vs. 20 and 21 that we shall all be together as one:-
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those  who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.'


Some time ago I wrote this poem regarding those of us who may have already fallen asleep in Jesus when He returns for us:-

When we awaken from this sleep

Life and death both have their pain
both have their share of sorrow
and what we see and love today
may not be here tomorrow

One day we'll stand at Heaven's door
and pain and tears will be no more
when we awaken from this sleep
to be where shadows can not creep

We'll be together joined as one                  
with God the Father and His Son               
we'll step within that blessed door
to find that sorrow is no more.
 
 
How can we lose out when we put our trust in our Lord Jesus