Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Bramble

I was preparing to create a small card on my computer, and I was going to use a photograph I had taken some time ago of a blackberry bush.  As I looked at the picture of the bush heavily laden with fruit, with some of the flowers still in full bloom, I suddenly had a revelation of how everything that God creates has its purpose, and how we can sometimes fail to see the relevance and the beauty in certain things.
When we think of the wild bramble that grows in the countryside we tend to think more of its thorns rather than its fruit and its beautiful flowers, yet when we think of the cultivated rose that we grow in our gardens we praise its flower and its perfume rather than concentrate on the thorns.  l sometimes think we have the same principles in our relationships with people.  We  can praise and give more honour to people who are rich and famous, or are endowed with certain kind of looks to fit the fashion of the day, than we do to a poor, unknown or insignificant person.  We are often respecters of persons who are in high positions and tend to miss the lovely qualities in the most ordinary of people. 
I am glad to say that I have never been a respecter of persons, and have often found the greater beauty in the 'wild' more than in the 'cultivated'.   How can God's handywork be improved upon ?
My photograph of the blackberry bush reminded me of just how much beauty is around if we take the time to look.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Line upon line

Last week, very soon after I had posted about my cat on my blog, someone said to me 'Did you hear about that man who used a cat as a football, he got nineteen days in jail.'  A word formed in my mind, then my concience suggested that I did not say it.  My love for cats however finally persuaded me to answer 'good'.  Immediately I had said it I felt bad.  By then other words were forming in my mind.  'He will come across lots of cat lovers in prison.', but I stopped myself from saying them.  Later that day I thought of how easy it is to drift from what the Lord is trying to teach me and, after praying that while in prison the man would come across, not someone who would harm him for the harm he did to the cat, but someone who would tell him about salvation in Jesus, so that he would not do that sort of thing.  Where would I be now, I thought, if God had punished me according to the things I did before knowing Him, and the things I yet do?  I was thinking about this on Sunday morning, and realizing how praying for the man had brought happiness and peace to me, whereas answering 'good' had brought the opposite.  I went to open my Bible to read, and opened to Proverbs ch.12.  Verse 18 was underlined.  It read ... 'There is one whose rash word are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.'  I believe that those 'sword thrusts', directed at the one the words are aimed at, also have the ability to attack the spirit of the one who speaks them.  I love the way the Lord teaches, and know that there is no way that I could change myself without the help of the Holy Spirit.  God's ways are totally different to our ways, and neither are His thoughts our thoughts.

New man for old

Lord when I'm being taunted and mocked for loving You
Cause me to remember that You were taunted too
When I'm being laughed at for calling on Your name
Let me see You standing there and taking all that shame
And if I'm being tempted to draw back into sin
Tell me 'Turn away child, don't let the devil win'
Lord sometimes it's difficult to die to sinful man
When the Spirit says 'You can't' and the flesh says 'Yes you can'
I'm so afraid I'll fail You, the old man can be strong
Sometimes it's hard to tell Lord what's right and what is wrong
The old man says 'Retaliate!' to every harsh word said
The new says 'You've been born again, the old man is now dead'
So Lord teach me to listen, when I hear You speak
Create in me a spirit that is lowly and meek
Take away the old man of anger, greed and lust
Form a new creation inside this outer crust
Help me to forgive them, when the world abuses me
Teach me how to show Your love, that I know can set them free
Lord help me go all the way to that rugged cross
Show me that to lose this life is gain and not a loss
And then just like the chrysalis that hangs upon it's thread
I'll become a butterfly.... and You'll have raised the dead

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Guilt

Our little cat, Fluffy was very ill.  I had prayed for her a few times before when she had been younger and the Lord had made her well on those occasions.  This time she had been steadily losing weight and I had resorted to going to the vet when the Lord appeared not to answer my prayers.  The vet said that the trouble was in her kidneys and it was due to her age.  I was afraid of losing her and let the vet give her steroids.  For a time she appeared to pick up, and we thought she was going to get better, but then she lost the use of her back legs and we had to take her to the vets again.  I wanted Fluffy to be made well but I had a strong feeling that the vet would advise putting her to sleep, something which neither my husband nor myself wanted to face.  We love our cats very much, as any animal lover will understand.  On the way to the vets Fluffy was licking my hand and I almost felt as if she was telling me that everything would be alright, as if in some strange way she was trying to comfort me.  When we arrived at the vets I could not go in and so my husband took Fluffy in alone, while I sat in the car.  Within a short time he came out and said that the vet had said that there was nothing he could do and it would be cruel not to put her to sleep.  It was a terrible moment for both of us and neither of us wanted to give the vet permission to do it, but we both knew that we could not leave her in the state she was in.  My husband kept saying 'What am I to tell him?'.  I finally said yes and my husband came out some time later with Fluffy's little body, and we took her home to bury her in the garden.  As soon as I saw her I felt terribly guilty, I felt as if I had killed her and I kept crying.  It went on for days and I could get no peace.  I kept praying and asking the Lord to give me peace over it, asking Him why He had not healed her and to show me whether I had done right or wrong.  Finally the Lord answered me in a song and I believe He showed me through various incidents that even if I had not taken her to the vets at all, even without the steroids, that Fluffy would have died naturally on the same day that the vet put her to sleep.  It was just her time to die. 
I have learned through that incident, and many other incidents, that the Lord knows that we are flesh, and understands our heart like no one else could, and that everything that I do, and the reason I do it, is known to God. 
This is the song that eventually helped to bring me peace in the situation, in which I asked questions of the Lord and also, I believe, the Lord answered those questions.

Death has no sting

Where were You Lord with Your healing power
I called Your name but I heared no sound
Left all alone to use my emotions
I chose compassion and death won the round

Now I recall, Your voice it was speaking
And it was saying 'This just has to be
There is a time of ashes to ashes
When the spirit of life must return unto me'

I heard Your voice not in the wind Lord
Nor in the earthquake Your voice could I find
I heard Your voice not in the fire Lord
But in the compassion ... in the still of my mind

Now Lord I know You were there with Your power
Now Lord I know that You set all things free
Now Lord I know that in their final hour
Death has no sting .... it has no victory

For where there's no fear there is no barrier
And love is the power that sets all things free
Your love has shown that this life and it's sufferings
Can never compare to what's waiting for me