Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Believe, all things are possible

When I first came to be born again of God's Holy Spirit I experienced many things in my life that revealed the absolute power of God and His ability to do that which is not possible for man to do.  Over the years I have still seen so much of God's goodness in not only my own life but in the lives of others too, but I have felt many times that I have been in a battle.  I have always tried to seek God in areas where I have needed help, and feel that I have been shown that there is only one plumbline to go by when seeking counsel, it is the word of God.  If anything is spoken during my time of seeking the Lord on an issue, if advice is given me by other people, whether they be christian or not, I must always go back to check that it is what God is speaking to me.  I truly believe that we can miss out on blessing through not only our own unbelief but other people's.  The daily bread that we each receive from God has the ability to mature us spiritually and if someone has not reached a certain faith level, no matter what 'title' they may have in this world, then they may actually cause you to doubt what God is encouraging you to believe. Yesterday I met a young man who had recentlty become a christian, who was so passionate about his salvation and seeking God's word for guidance it was a pleasure to speak to him.  I came away from him praying that he would never become a lukewarm christian. 

The following is a testimony of an event in my life several years ago that I believe the Lord has brought back to my remembrance to encourage me to persist in seeking his voice, always believing what He is saying to me without doubting, and not watering it down with mans' doctrine or unbelief.



I thought about the dream I'd had, as I lay in bed that morning.  In it I had been walking through a Woolworth store, with a ginger cat in my arms.  First the cat had jumped down and disappeared, and then one by one my clothes had started to disappear from off my body until I was completely naked.  I had a strange feeling that there was a spiritual meaning to the dream, and that God was trying to reveal something to me, but what?  My first thought was that it involved loss, and I started to think in the negative, that maybe I was going to lose something, and I started to worry that it might be my spiritual garments of praise or salvation, but where did the cat fit in?  I decided that the best thing that I could do would be to pray to the Lord about it and wait on Him for answers.

About a week later I had another dream.  This time I was in a town, and I was looking for wedding clothes.  I had been looking in many shops and could not seem to find anything suitable.  After much searching I met a lady whom I recognized.  She lived near me, and her name was Grace.  I told her I was looking for wedding clothes and she said that she had some that I could borrow.  In my dream she lived at the top of a very high apartment building, and she went up to fetch the clothes for me.  When I looked at them I saw that they were extremely nice wedding clothes and took them, telling her that I would look after them.  I then started walking through the busy shopping area of the town, still looking at clothes, carrying Grace's clothes in a large bag.  I found nothing so I went further out away from the town looking, still nothing.  I returned once again to the town but could find nothing I wanted.


After quite some time I suddenly realized that the bag was missing.  I must have put it down somewhere and forgotten to pick it up again.  I started to worry because the clothes belonged to Grace, and I knew I had to go to her and tell her what had happened.   I felt terrible because I knew they were very expensive clothes, and regretted being so careless with them.   I went to the apartment building and rang the bell at the bottom.  Grace came down and I told her what had happened.  Although she was sad about it she was very forgiving and said that it was alright, that I was not to worry.  I realized that I had to find more wedding garments and I started to look again but could find none that I liked in all the stores. 


I then thought about a place that I had already been to, it was a small store that was away from the busy town, out in the quiet of the countryside.  Maybe I would find something there if I looked again, I thought.  I walked through the town, past all the stores that I had searched in, out to the very edge of the town and a little way down a quiet country lane to the store.  I went in and looked around but could find nothing there for the wedding I was to attend.  I started to make my way out of the door when the sales lady said 'Excuse me, you left this here the last time you were here'.  I turned and looked and saw that she held in her hand the bag with the wedding clothes from Grace in it.  I could hardly believe it and was overjoyed to have found them again.  I thanked the sales lady and made my way back to the town to tell Grace that I had found them.  When I got to the apartment building where she lived, the door was open.  I went inside, climbed the stairs, found Grace and told her the good news, that I had found the wedding clothes that she had given me.  She smiled, said she was very happy and I went on my way, telling her that this time I would look after them.

Over the next few days I started to realize what the Lord was trying to reveal to me through the dreams. The first dream represented my initial coming to the Lord, a putting off the old way of life, the clothes representing the grave clothes of the wisdom of this world, and the cat representing the natural things that I loved and adored.   God and His word to me had to come first in my life no matter what.  The wisdom and the pulls of this world must no longer govern me.


There is a peace within my soul no riches could have bought it
I found it not in wealth or fame in wretchedness I sought it
This peace that passes understanding peace that I can call my own
Can not be found in all the world, It's found in Jesus Christ alone

The second dream represented my being given the wedding clothes, and the fact that I had been given them by grace, when Jesus had come into my life as my Saviour and my guide.  Even the fact that Grace lived in a high apartment was, to me, showing the majesty of God.

I began to realize that the Lord was portraying a warning in this dream that I was, or could be in danger of, letting the busyness of this world distract me, and it could cause me to lose my wedding clothes, my garments of salvation.  I thought about my life and how I had ceased to pray in the Spirit as fervently as I used to, slowly losing the close contact that I had always had with the Lord from the moment I had been born again of His Spirit.  It was as if I was carrying my garments of salvation in a bag instead of wearing them.



I had been sustained in sickness and finances for several years by the Lord, experiencing miraculous healings and being supplied with all that my husband and I needed,with His word being my guide.  Yet it was as if I had almost begun to think negatively, allowing the voice of this world to question what God was saying, and the Lord's promises seemed as far away and mislaid as the missing bag of wedding garments in the second dream.  When I had first come to the Lord God had spoken the words 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, you and your household' to me.  Then the words 'Take every thought into captivity' had been spoken to me, and 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not lean on your own understanding'.  I had listened and been very close to the Lord, being guided by Him and taking everything opposing His words into captivity.  I had been wonderfully in His preaence, and kept in good health.  Now I realized that I had let the world slowly encroach into my life.  I had stopped taking every thought into captivity.  Ones that did not confess what Christ and His words said to me had been allowed to cause doubts that all things were possible with God, or even that God was wanting my welfare in this world.   The dreams had come with the perfect timing of God, and I was being shown that there was a battle going on in me between the light of God's words in the renewed mind of Christ in the newly created me, and the darkness of the thoughts in the carnal mind of the old me.

At the time of the dreams I actually was searching for wedding clothes to wear to my son's wedding, which was to take place in Scotland.  I eventually found an outfit, a light skirt and a dark top.  Even these clothes seemed to reflect what was going on in my life, a mixture of the light of faith and the darkness of doubt.  The wedding over, I returned to Wales, stopping overnight at my cousin's house in Lancashire.  While there, I went into a shop and noticed a little scented candle in a jar with a china lamp shade that sat on the jar.  It was very pretty and I decided to buy it.  As I was carrying it to the till I noticed the label on the front of the jar had the words 'Believe.  All things are possible'.  I knew the Lord was encouraging me to do this because I had been singing a little song over and over at the time in which were the words 'all things are possible with You Lord'.  Incredibly, at the same time, a song was playing in the shop, from which flowed the words, 'I need you to be my guide'.

When I returned home, the following Sunday morning I was in the prayer meeting before the service at the church I was attending when the pastor spoke out regarding whether we really believe that God will do that which He has promised to do in our lives.   I shared with the people at the prayer meeting about the candle lamp, saying that I believed the Lord was encouraging us to keep the light of the truth of God's promises burning, casting out any thoughts from our minds which would cause doubt and rob us of those promises, and I prayed for the Lord to help all of us to take every thought into captivity, opposing doubtful thoughts by declaring 'The Lord has said..'. 




The word 'paragon' was brought to my mind several times, it was on a white van which was in the church car park and also in ;the garage opposite my house as I was writing this testimony.  When I looked up the meaning of the word, one of the things the dictionary  said it meant was 'a pattern of perfection, a model, a person or thing of supreme excellence'.  Jesus is perfection, and a paragon is what we shall become if we truly believe on Him, putting Him first in our lives, listening to and acting upon His word to us as it is spoken..

In my second dream, when I had lost the clothes and I had to go to tell Grace, the door was shut, representing my separation from God by letting the things of this world distract me from the things of God.   The fact that there was a doorbell reminded me that through Jesus there remains a connection through prayer in these times, God responding being represented by Grace coming down to open the door.   Even Grace being sad but telling me not to worry represented to me God's love, long suffering and forgiving nature when we fail Him.   The second time I approached the home of Grace to say that I had found the wedding clothes, the door was open and I went up to her.  This reminded me of the prodigal son and his Father's open armed welcome once the son had repented and was on his way back.  Even the place where the clothes were found spoke to me of finding grace in that quiet place of prayer.

For some time after I was reminded of weddings and wedding clothes and I realized that the whole of what had happened over the previous couple of weeks was encouraging me to draw closer to God in prayer, throw off the grave clothes of the wisdom of this world, put on my garments of salvation , and believe that all things are possible with God, including complete physical healing.



I believe that this testimony has been brought to my attention to once again increase intercessory prayer in my life as it once used to be.  Something happened a couple of days ago that painted a picture of what is happening to cause much unbelief amongst God's people today.
I was looking on Google for help to see street views and came accross what I thought was a download that would do this. 


I ended up downloading a search engine called 'Babylon'.  'How did I end up with this'? I thought, and wondered why I felt so uncomfortable that it was on my screne.  Then I realized that, as well as simply not liking the change, and the fact that I still didn't seem able to view the street maps, the name 'Babylon' brought disturbing thoughts to mind.   I was reminded once again of a parallel between the Lord's people being in Babylon in Daniel's time.  Babylon is the Greek form of Babel, which means 'confusion', and I believe that the church is in danger of  being in the spiritual Babylon, a state of confusion by mixing man's doctrine with God's doctrine and not believing every word that comes out of the mouth of God.  By Daniel not eating the 'rich' food of the king of Babylon, and just eating the 'vegetables' with nothing added to them, He remained in communication with God and was protected by Him in the 'fire'.   

I believe the Lord is encouraging me to believe absolutely everything that He speaks to me will come to pass.......if I only believe it.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Beauty


I rarely call a person 'beautiful', I usually say they are 'pretty' or 'handsome', if people ask my opinion on someone's appearance.  Yet if I see a face that shows some kind of suffering on it, whether it is an old person who is heavily lined or a child from a third world country with tear stained dirty cheeks and hungry eyes, I see a beauty that causes me to weep.  I remember once painting a picture from a newspaper article of two children from Bangladesh who had been laid next to one another in a refugee camp.  They did not know one another and they were both dying of hunger.  The picture showed them holding hands, faces turned towards one another, minutes before thy died.  I don't think I have ever seen two more beautiful children.  I never understood why these kind of unbelievably sad faces have appeared so beautiful to me until I became a christian and began to know the Lord.


Suffering produces a strength of character which itself has a beauty that cannot be attained through ease of life, and is the tool used to induce compassion in the heart of the onlooker.  The word translated as 'compassion' in the new testament is from the Greek, meaning 'to suffer with', and it could not describe better what I am trying to portray here.  When I see suffering in a face, I feel as if I am suffering myself, and when the suffering of one is tempered with the compassion of another there springs forth a bonding that far surpasses what the physical is capable of achieving.


I cannot see Jesus, yet He appears as beautiful to me.  So what is it that is beautiful to me if it is not physical?  Our physical eyes will look for what the flesh desires, but our spiritual eyes search for what the Spirit desires.  Psalm 149 v.4 tells us that the Lord will beautify the meek with salvation.  It is salvation which causes us to have all the spiritual attributes which make us beautiful to the Lord.  This is the Godly beauty which the spiritual eye seeks to look upon, and the beauty that God wishes His sons and daughters to attain. 

Jesus is the express image of the God of Israel, the only true God and the creator, who desires to create mankind in His image.  God is a Spirit and in Genesis ch.1 v.27 we are told that God, on the sixth day, created man in His own image.  The Hebrew word here used for man is 'adam', which is collective, referring to mankind, and this is what God is doing through Jesus in this latter day, creating us in His Spiritual image through salvation in His Son Jesus.

As we submit ourselves to the word of the Lord we put off our physical nature, providing we are doers of the word ( as it says in James ch.1 v.22 ), and not just hearers, and put on the spiritual nature.  Just like the butterfly, who struggles to leave the shell of the chrysalis, which serves as both tomb and womb, so too we who have been born again struggle to leave our old sinful nature to emerge as a new creation after the image of our beautiful Saviour Jesus.  I do not think it coincidence that the chrysalis is a drab, ugly shell with absolutely no resemblance to the beautiful creature which will emerge from it.  It is indeed very symbolic of how our carnal, sinful state appears to God.  As we grow in the Lord we begin to recognize the difference between the attributes of the flesh and the attributes of the spirit.  Once we recognize these differences we are able to walk in the newness of the Spirit and put off the old nature of the man of dust.

New Life

Oh caterpillar slow and green
how I was so like you
weighed down with problems large and small
of how to see life through
I was in my world of fear
with Satan everywhere
You tried so hard to hide yourself
from fowls of the air

                  
               





                


                 But then regeneration came               
                 while hanging from your thread
                 inside new life was stirring
                 while outside all was dead
                 So too new life is forming
                 inside this earthly shell
                 For faith joins me to Jesus
                 who lifts me from this hell

                                   And just as one day you will change
                                   and fly away so free
                                   I too will be made perfect
                                   when Jesus comes for me


Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.

Philippians ch3 v12










Friday, 1 June 2012

Enlightenment

There are many ways that God can speak to us in our christian walk, and I am sure that each one of us comes to recognize His voice in our lives as we grow in our Lord Jesus.  The following are  testimonies of  where I believe I was being spoken to by the Holy Spirit on two separate occasions.

The stain
There was a large stain on my skirt.  It had been there for some time and no matter what I did I could not get it off.  I had tried stain removers of various kinds but it just would not shift.  It was a dark blue stain on a maroon skirt, a skirt which I liked very much, and I wondered what else I could do to hide it.

At that time I had not been able to forgive myself for something I had done in my past, even though I had since become a christian, being told that if I repented of past sins I would be forgiven by God.  My mind could not blank out this thing that I had done and it kept causing me hurt and regret.  Looking at the skirt, I realized, in a sense, that my past sin was like that stain, and thought 'I can never take that sin out of my life.'  Just like the stain on the skirt it would always be with me.  Then it occurred to me that, instead of trying to remove the stain I should see if I could cover it over.  I had a variety of fabric paints and could paint the blue stain maroon, the same colour as the skirt, so that it would not be visible.


At that point I had a very clear revelation of Gods grace in the crucifiction. My past sins would always be there, in my past.   I could never say that I had not committed sins.   However, to God they were 'invisible' because of the blood of His sinless Son acting as a covering over them.   Just as the fabric paint would act as a covering over the stain on my skirt,   and the blood on the doorposts had long ago prevented the 'destroyer' from harming the Israelites, so too would the blood of Jesus protect me from Gods wrath.  This revelation to me finally brought me peace.  There would always be sadness in my heart for what I had done, but God had forgiven me.  There was no need for guilt.






















Reflections on a puzzle
One Sunday, as I was walking home from a church I had attended, I came across a lot of jigsaw pieces scattered on the pavement.  It had been raining and they were wet.  The pastor at the church had been speaking about disunity amongst God's people, and while I was walking through the town I was reflecting on this and wondering why it was so.  These jigsaw pieces, separated one from another and scattered all over the ground, seemed to be echoing what the pastor had been saying, and I felt the Lord was trying to tell me something.  I gathered all the pieces up and placed them in my bag.

When I arrived home I proceeded to piece them together to see what the picture might be, but each piece began to separate into two parts because the rain had neutralized the glue that was sticking the picture to the backing card.  I started to have understanding of what I believed the Lord was trying to reveal to me.  If I pieced the backing card together I would have no picture.  If I pieced some of the backing card together with some of the picture pieces they would join together because they were the same shapes but I would only have part of the picture.  If, on the other hand, I pieced all the upper pieces together, I would have the whole picture.  I could see a parallel in these jigsaw pieces with God's people.  The blank backing card represented the old creation of the flesh, which was dead in sins, and its carnal mind, while the top layer with the picture on represented the new creation in Christ, and it's spiritual mind.   Old and new mixed together could only bring disunity, because the carnal mind is at enmity with God, and the things of the Spirit are foolishness to it. 

The element that had separated the two parts of the jigsaw pieces was water and only the spiritual water that comes down from Heaven, the word of God, can separate the old man from the new creation which God is forming in us through Christ Jesus.  As each of us allows the Holy Spirit to renew our mind in Christ we will grow up into the united body of Christ.

The first book of Corinthians ch.15 v.22 says that 'as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive'.   God had shown me through the pastor's words that there was disunity in the church, but it was only through the jigsaw pieces and the revelation to me through them could I have understanding of why there was disunity.  This incident taught me how vital it is to be alert to the ways in which God is able to reveal something to us, if it ties in with His word, and how it is for our benefit that we act on that revelation so that we might be changed into our Saviour's image to be able to soar with Him in the Spirit.
                                                                                                                                                                
To fly without wings

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
don't lean on your own understanding
for to fly without wings requires faith on your part
and don't worry about where you're landing

For the One who sustains you is able to soar
and your future He holds in His hand
as you fly over mountains and deserts galore
to a beautiful fertile land