Tuesday, 27 September 2011

What is Truth?

We read in the gospel of John chapter 18 verse 38 that Pontius Pilate asked Jesus 'What is truth?' when Jesus said to him that the reason He had been born into the world was to bear witness to the truth.  We too may ask 'What is truth?'  So what is this 'truth' that Jesus bears witness to, and where can we find it?  Is what man tells us always truth?  We only have to look at the weather forecast to know that man is fallible.  Is what out carnal mind tells us always truth?  Proverbs chapter 28 verse 26 tells us that he who trusts in his own mind is a fool, and I am sure that this proverb has been proved right many times in all our llives.  Or is what God says always truth, as Proverbs chapter 30 verse 5 tells us when we read that 'Every word of God proves true' ? and let us notice that this scripture says that the word of God proves true.  It is only by applying the word of God in our lives can it be proved.  There is only one mediator by which we may approach God, to receive that word of truth.  Jesus says in John chapter 14 verse 6 'I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me'.  In John chapter 1 verses 1-14 we are told that Jesus is the word of God which was with God in the beginning, and so we see that the way to the Father is the actual word of God revealed in Jesus.  God has made Him Lord and He is also the Holy Spirit, as we are shown in 2 Corinthians chapter 3 verse 17, the same Holy Spirit that Jesus tells us in John chapter 16 verse 13 will guide us into all truth.  We are told in the twelfth chapter of first Corinthians that there are gifts of the Spirit that are to be used for the common good, to build up the church to edify one another, and so we should desire and pray for these gifts to be granted us so that we will be built up accordingly.  1 Corinthians, chapter 12 verse 11 tells us that these gifts are inspired by one and the same Spirit who appoints to each one individually as He wills, and 1 Peter chapter 5 verse 10 says 'as each has received a gift employ it for one another as good stewards of God's varied grace.'
we need to pray for the gift of prophesy because, as Proverbs chapter 29 verse 18 says 'Where there is no prophesy the people cast off restraint'.  We need to pray for wisdom, the beginning of which is to fear the Lord, for knowledge, without which we shall perish, and we need to pray for the gifts of healing and of miracles and the laying on of hands for those of us that are sick.
If every word of God proves true and the truth will set us free, then we need that word in our lives in order to be free.  Each person of the Israelite nation that was led out of Egypt into the wilderness on the way to the promised land was instructed to pick up a certain amount of manna each day according to the requirements of the individual.  So too each spiritual Israelite, each Christian, must seek the Lord for his or her 'manna', or word from the Lord each day in order to work out their individual salvation.  The Bible tells us that each had to pick up his own manna as he required it, so I cannot pick up someone else's manna of the day and expect it to be relevant to my life, it has to be specifically for me.  Jesus answered, when Peter asked, regarding John, 'What about him Lord?', 'Never mind him, follow me'.  This manna, this word of God in our lives is the truth that will set us free, and the word by which we must judge ourselves.  It can be brought to us in many ways, through apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers or through reading the written word.
Many things will come along to test that word of truth, but we must take encouragement from our forerunners in the scriptures to try to hold on and believe what God has said to us.  Joseph was one of those forerunners and we are told in Psalm 105 verses 18 and 19 that his feet were bruised with shackles and his neck put in irons, until what He foretold came to pass, the word of the Lord proved him true.  No matter what comes along to challenge that word, if we know that God has spoken to us in any situation we must hold on to that word until it comes to pass.
We are told in proverbs chapter 12 verse 25 that anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.  We know that all scripture is good and can be used for building up, reproof, correction etc., so once we know what the Lord is speaking to us we must act on it for our own spiritual good, and not allow our carnal mind to question it.  We have to have our minds renewed in Christ Jesus to be able to understand the spiritual truths of God.  God's ways are not our ways, neither are His thoughts our thoughts.  There will always be a battle between the Spirit and the carnal mind, for the carnal mind is at enmity with God and will not subject itself to the mind of Christ without a fight.  We can, however, be assured that the truth of God's word will win the battle.  For, as 2 Corinthians chapter 10 verses 3-5 says 'Though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
Although Job was a righteous man ( and we are righteous in Christ ) there was so much he did not know about God and His ways.  It was only after much personal affliction did he finally come to know God's ways.  Job was actually delivered of his affliction and hardship through his affliction because it was in his affliction that he sought God.  Job chapter 36 verse15 says that God delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity.  We shall all share in the sufferings as we seek truth in God's word because as surely as the potter's hand puts pressure on the clay to shape it into a vessel fit for his use, God's loving hand on us will inevitably cause temporary pain as He slowly moulds us into the image of His wonderful Son through the truth of His word.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Rapture ( an experience that happened to me several years ago, one of many that I include in one of several booklets that I have put together )

For the last few days something I wrote quite a few years ago has been coming into my mind.  It was an article called 'Rapture'.  I thought I might put it up as a post on my blog, but was not sure if I had already done so.  I looked it up and realized that I had posted it a couple of years ago.  I have a little gold book by the side of my computer, one of the diaries that I have written in.  I opened it ad noticed that the page I had opened to had many of the things written in it that were in the article 'Rapture'.  So I have decided to put up this post again.  The church mentioned in this post is not the church that I attend now, and I have added a few photographs.


Rapture
Several weeks ago I had a dream in which I was looking at certain stars in the sky.  As i looked at them they appeared to grow in explosive glory, yet were not destroyed.  It was absolutely beautiful.  My husband was stood nearby and I asked him to look at the stars, but when he looked nothing happened, the stars remained normal.  then some other people came along who were unbelievers, and I asked them to look at the same stars.  Again nothing happened.  A short time after I had the dream I bought some new gold coloured curtains, and when I got them home and went to take them out of the packet I noticed they were called 'rapture', and I realized that the pattern on them was very much like the exploding stars that I had seen in my dream.  The word 'rapture' means 'to be carried to a state of extreme joy', and that was exactly the state I had been in, watching the stars in my dream.
Shortly after I went to the church that I was attending at the time, and the pastor was saying that he and the family had visited a waterfall in a local park.  Then a lady spoke of waterfalls of wine, the pastor following on speaking of how new wine could not be put into old wineskins but had to be put into new wineskins.  I noticed that the lady who spoke on 'waterfalls of wine' had a dress on with an almost identical pattern to my curtains, only the background colour was brown instead of gold. 
I felt that something was being pointed out to me here, that the gold background represented the Lord and the brown background represented the earth, and that the pattern on both the curtains and the dress represented the heavenly glory that Christians should bear, the Glory of the Lord, except that the brown dress represented something earthly, an old wineskin perhaps.
 
I told my son, who moved to the area recently, that the waterfalls were there, because he had said that when he moved down here, he wanted to visit many of the waterfalls in the area.  He said he knew of the waterfalls and that they were partially man made.  Again I felt that something was being pointed out to me, that the waterfalls were partially man made and the dress with the brown background colour could be speaking spiritually of man's interference with God's word and the Holy Spirit in some way and that if it was, then the Lord would reveal more to me if I prayed and waited.
Some time after, I was reading 2 Kings chapter 2 where the men of the city were telling Elisha that the situation of the city of Jericho was pleasant but the water was bad and the land was unfruitful.  Elisha asked for a new bowl and put salt in it.  Then he went to the spring and threw salt in it, and the word of the Lord came to him to say that the water was made wholesome and that neither death nor miscarriage would come from it.
After I had read this I was thinking about sharing my thoughts with the pastor at the church, and I reached for my UCB daily reading book.  When I opened to the reading for the day it was saying that we all have gaps and that the best way to handle the weaknesses was to work together and it was encouraging us to work more together and not to be like  Diotrephes who not only refused to welcome the brethren, but also stopped those who wanted to welcome them.
I was about to put up on my front room wall a print of two geese painted originally in watercolour.  I was reminded of a book I have called 'Why geese fly farther than eagles' The following is a paragraph from that book which reflects to me the way the body of Christ should function as stated in Ephesians chapter 4 verse 16 '....... joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and up builds itself in love.'
 
' When the head goose grabs the wind, air is displaced, which then rushes up to reclaim its space only to see the smiling face of the bird flying behind, whose wings just happen to be in the downward position - a very dangerous condition, which doesn't last for long, because the upward rush gives them a push, and they're right back up where they belong.  This goose then grabs the air again, causing another upward wind, which lifts the bird behind.  And so it goes on down the line.  So the head goose breaks the wind, and all the rest are carried by him, with very little effort, I've heard, on the part of any one bird.  When the head goose has had enough, he or she simply drops back and depends on another bird for strength when strength is what is lacked.
So that's how I found out how the goose can fly from up north to way down south and back again.  But she cannot do it alone, you see.  It's something that must be done in community.  These days it's a popular notion, and people swell with emotion and pride when they think of themselves on the eagle-side, solitary, self-sufficient, strong.  But we are what we are.  That's something we cannot choose.  Though many would wish to be seen as an eagle, I think God made most like the goose.'
Last Sunday the pastor of the church was saying to my friend and myself that if anyone has anything they want to share during the service they have to speak to the appointed convener about it and he will decide whether it should be shared or not.  A few Sundays ago it was preached in church that if people did not go to the doctors with certain sicknesses they would die.  I have been trusting in the Lord solely for a particular healing  and when I got home that day I sought the Lord regarding what had been spoken in church and I opened my Bible to read.  On the page in front of me was a verse in Psalm 118 that I had underlined some time ago.  It reads ' I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.'  I asked the Lord if He was speaking this word to me, closed my Bible, and opened to exactly the same page, with the same underlined verse speaking to me.
 
I have to ask, ' If I had asked the Lord this question in church that morning and opened my Bible to this verse twice, would I have been allowed to share this with the church or would the convener have thought that it went against what was being preached and disallowed it, thereby denying this testimony which might have strengthened and encouraged somebody else ?.'
 
Surely there can only be one convener in the church, the Holy Spirit, and are we guilty of trying to interfere with His work by bringing in our own rules instead of following the guidelines of the scriptures when we come together. Daniel ch. 2 v.44 reads:- 'And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.'  
 
We must not be afrail of a little 'salt' in case it might offend.  As in the story of Elisha in Jericho, it may bring a blessing from the Lord and make the land more fruitful.  We may even, without realizing it, be denying ourselves of having the fullness of all that the Lord has for us by not allowing the body of Christ to function fully as it was intended to.
Why, in my dream, did not my husband or the unbelievers see the full glory of the stars in the heavens?  I could understand why the unbelievers did not see it, but my husband has been baptized and believes in Jesus.  Was he representing somebody who believes but can not see the full glory because he is guided largely by worldly wisdom and knowledge?  In order to be carried to that 'extreme state of joy'  Do we need to be concentrating more on getting rid of the old brown (earthly) wineskins and putting on our new gold (Christ like )ones?