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Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Onion

I like onions.  They can be used in stir fries, curries, salads, soups and many other meals, and are also medicinal in many ways.  I was looking on the internet for uses for the onion.  One of the comments in answer to the question 'How are onions good for you?' was:- 'Toxins in your body RUN from the onion, leaving your innards nice and clean'.

Why am I talking about onions?   Well, the other day I was reading Matthew chapter 8.   Verse 28  onwards tells of when Jesus and the disciples had crossed the sea of Galilee to the country of the Gardarenes.  While there he cast out demons from two demoniacs, commanding them to enter a herd of swine, which in turn 'rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in the waters'. 

What I noticed as I read on to the end of the chapter was that when the herdsmen fled into the city and told  the people there everything that had happened to the demoniacs, instead of rejoicing the whole of the city came out to meet Jesus and begged Him to leave their neighbourhood.   I asked myself 'Why would they want someone who had brought such a wonderful release to two tormented people to leave their city?' Could they be more concerned about losing the pigs?

Over the following couple of days I read sections of the book of Proverbs, and I started to think about the choices we get.  I thought back to the Gardarenes citizens, and it came into my mind that pigs represent 'the unclean' to the Jewish people.  There is some controversy over whether the Gardarenes were Jews, but whether they were or not is irrelevant because as a christian reading this story it is portraying to me, as part of God's spiritual Israel (the church), the danger of  being more concerned about losing the 'unclean' in my life than gaining the spiritual cleansing.

God gives us choices and sometimes we can tend to treat the good advice given in the word of God in the same way as the Gadarenes thought of Jesus' acts regarding the demoniacs and the swine.  We can prefer to keep  our own human 'wisdom' when the wisdom of God is necessary.  Proverbs ch.26 v12 reads 'Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes, there is more hope for a fool than for him'.  How often this has proved true in my own life.

Sometimes the food that is good for us has an element in it that might appear to cause an upsetting reaction at first.   Onions can make you cry, and maybe have a few other uncomfortable side effects  but can clear your body of toxins, and sometimes the advice in the word of God, brought to our attention by the Holy Spirit at an appropriate time, may cause a little upset at first but it has the power, once applied, to clear our lives of spiritual toxins that may harm us and hinder us in our spiritual walk. 

Our old nature tends sometimes to have a 'keep the peace' side that does not want to entertain the 'rock the boat' side, even when it may be what is necessary to enable us to work out our own salvation or be strengthened spiritually in the Lord.  For example, Proverbs ch.24 v.24,25 reads:-   He who says to the wicked 'You are innocent' will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations; but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will be upon them.'  There may come a time when we know that the Holy Spirit is telling us to correct someone, where 'keep the peace' or 'respect for persons' will try to persuade us to condone what we know to be wrong. 

The Lord might correct me at a time that I see something bad happening to someone who has done something bad to me by showing me Proverbsch.24 v.17 which reads:- 'Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the Lord see it, and be displeased, and turn away His anger from him.'   This proverb shows me that the Lord's correction is not about revenge, and neither should I be revenging.   Just as we must eat the onion to achieve the cleansing so too must we act on the advice spoken to us even if it causes a little discomfort.

Proverbs ch.29 v.19   reads   'By mere words a servant is not disciplined, for though he understands he will not give heed', and sometimes we may be put through trials, as spoken of in James ch.1 v.2.  The Lord understands our weaknesses, and these trials are able to test us on the ability to carry out what we are shown, and know is right, and be strengthened to overcome our spiritual weaknesses, and will sometimes also help others.  The motivation behind correction is always 'repair' when this motivation comes from  God, whether it be for us or for another person in our lives.  The word 'synergy' comes from the Greek word 'synergia' meaning 'joint work and cooperative action', and it is only when we play our part in acting on the word of God spoken to us that we effectively work out our salvation.

Some time ago I wrote a poem called 'The Onion', which portrays to me the fact that what the Holy Spirit speaks to me may appear at first to upset my 'worldly comfort zone' but it can only improve my spiritual life.  When the Lord upsets the apple cart the only thing that comes out of it is fruit.

The Onion

'How pleasant is our garden' the flowers said one day, while basking in the morning sun.  Then they heard the gardener say.    'I think I'll plant an onion, to see if it will grow'.   Then looking round the garden sought a place for it to go.  

'Oh no!' cried out the marigold, 'don't put Onion next to me.  What about beside the pond or under that old tree?' 'And why then should I suffer?' replied the noble oak.
'And neither do we want it here' the frogs began to croak.

And so the gardener scratched his head and said 'What shall I do?'  Somewhere within this garden must be a place for you.'  The onion cried within his heart, the tears began to roll.  He prayed 'Lord, I'm created too, find a place for this poor soul'.  And then the gardener heaved a sigh and said 'The only thing is to put this onion by the fence with the weeds that choke and sting'.

The onion was so happy, at last was found a place. The gardener went and brought his spade,the onion dried its face.  How happy was the little plant once settled in the ground.  He spread his roots and raised his head, began to look around.  A sudden sound of crying began to reach his ears.  'Oh no, what now?' the onion said 'Who's shedding all those tears?'  But mingled with the crying, 'Hip, hip hooray!' was heard.  A sign of hope, and maybe not rejection as he feared.  The sobbing wasn't coming from the marigold or oak, but coming from the nasty weeds, the ones that sting and choke.  By now the weeds were withering, the thistles gasped for breath.  For the presence of the onion could only mean their death.  The flowers now with shouts of glee to the onion did lean and bend, for what was seen as an enemy had now become their friend.  So if in your midst there's an onion, who sometimes makes you cry, put him amongst your thistles and weeds.    Who knows ?........ maybe they'll die.


T-Childs said...

This is a really good post for me, for a number of reasons. You spoke the truth when you said that we often choose what we know, rather than stepping out with God into the unknown. When God heals us, it may also be the start of a new life, a life lived differently from what we knew in the past, even if we were comfortable with that past life.

I also like onions a whole lot too, as a self-taught cook who cooks curries from scratch and pasta sauces and lasagnes and the like. The smell of frying onions, as long as you haven't got a hangover(!), is one of those things that makes you feel good to be alive and is the pre-cursor (usually) to a good cooked meal, or at least hotdogs and onions on rolls with ketchup and American mustard; yum!

I love the onion poem by the way; that's very witty! I must say incidentally your blog is looking top-notch now and there might come a day when I am asking you how to make mine look better too!

Brenda said...

Ha ha! and who knows, the onions might be good for a hangover eh? I can honestly say Tim that when I go down the road that God tells me to go my life gets better, and it is amazing sometimes how He brings about the things that I would never have thought possible for me to have,but in way that I know that I have not brought about myself. We are not denied our heart's desire, we just try to aquire it in our own way sometimes, and I know from experience this can lead to diaster. Learning God's ways, for me, has been and always will be the loveliest experience of my life.

child of God said...

Hi Brenda,
What a fantastic comparison with the onion to the Holy Spirit. I have never thought of this, yet it totally makes sense!

Isn't it so true though, people are comfortable where they are and don't want God to come in and stir up the dirt that is in them. There is a saying that I am sure you have heard before. Christians are like glow sticks, in order to shine they must be broken. We need God to come in and break us up, so the earthly ways will leave us and good fruit will take root.

Love your poem! You are so gifted, I am very glad that God brought you into my life, I see I have a lot to learn from you.

God Bless,

Brenda said...

Hi child of God,
lovely to hear from you, No I have never heard the saying about glow sticks, how true it is. I love the way that things in our everyday lives can reveal something spiritual to us. God's way of getting us to understand what He is trying to say to us can be so gentle and yet so powerful to change us when linked in with scripture. You say about learning from me, I would say that the Lord would simply have us to share with one another and be built up by one another. To me we are each a part of the puzzle but it is God who has fashioned the total picture. I am so glad that I came accross you too because it was at a time in my life when I really felt the need to intercede for others as I used to. The Holy Spirit showed me in a wonderful way that I would be brought back into this, but I could never have imagined that it would be over the internet.
God bless you

child of God said...

Hi Brenda,
I agree with you that we will build each other up in the LORD and we are pieces of the puzzle that makes the whole picture. I guess you are a piece of the puzzle that belongs beside me because I connect with very few people. I am an introvert and in general prefer the company of animals and nature over that of people, but God has made it very clear to me that my time of being in solitude is done. He wants me to come out into His creation and offer what people what He has given me. It is only by the grace of God that I can do this and He is so very faithful in sending people into my life that connect with me and I believe you are one of them. :) God, He is so good!! Praise His name forever!!

I am so glad to hear that God is showing you how to expand your outreach of intercession over the internet. What Satan uses for evil God comes in and claims it for good.

Blessings sister,

Brenda said...

Yes, it is only by the race of God we can do these things. If anyone would have told me that when I was in my late thirties, early fourties I would be standing in Mayfair in London playing a green guitar and singing songs which I believe God inspired me to write, I would have told them they were crazy. It is because I know that I could not have done this and so many other things, that I know it is God, and therefore I know that it can only work out for God's purpose in my life. I am still learning and love my teacher.
God bless you.

Unknown said...

Great writing and much truth contained herein! As far as the villagers that wanted Jesus to leave, I agree that they were more afraid of losing more "stuff" than they were willing to receive the great gifts of the spirit that Jesus offered. To them, their ignorance drove Him out. And the onion story is fantastic! Great lessons about our uncomfortable moments with the things that are there to help us. And I also came to express gratitude for your comment/prayer on my post. I wanted you to know that after you posted it, a couple of the "waves" that hit me are resolving themselves...or, rather God is resolving them. Thank you so very much Brenda, and may God bless you for your willingness to obey.

Brenda said...

Hi Kelline,
Lovely to hear from you and to hear that God is resolving your 'waves'. Jesus always calms the storms for us eh?
God bless you.

Lori Dupes said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this article! It spoke to me on many levels. In my own life I've likened my spiritual growth to be like that of an onion. The Lord has and continues to peel back all those layers of disbelief, discontentment, distractions one layer at a time, a refining process. I love your analogies and I especially love your poem.

Brenda said...

Hi Lori,
So glad you could relate to something in 'the onion'. I just felt like browsing a few blogs recommended on other blogs and came across yours. I loved the expression in yours about 'losing your marbles'.

Darryl Orrell said...

This is an excellent post! The use of onions as a comparison to the sometimes hard to swallow and yet, cleansing power of God’s word makes for a very effective message. I will be following your blog and I invite you again visit and follow my blog if you are so led.

Darryl Orrell
Thought of the Week Devotion

Brenda said...

Thankyou for your kind comment Darryl, I was just putting together a new post when I noticed you added on my 'followers' list. I have started following your blog now and have added it to my blog list for others to follow if they wish. I very much enjoy interacting with others on line and feel it is a way to both evangelize to non believers and to build one another up as christians.

S. Knowles said...

I love the comparison you made with the onion, and your right there are times when the holy spirit say's things to us and we don't want to do it because it makes us feel uncomfortable. I really don't like onions at all if it's served in something it has to be hidden or some lime has to be in it to take a bit of the edge off otherwise I won't eat it. I never knew the benefits of eating onions, makes me want to go ahead and eat one, I'm willing to give it a shot now knowing the benefits. It's amazing how a lot of the things that are good for us are usually unappealing, but the thing's that are bad for us are extremely appealing, just like sin. I love that onion poem I'm going to share this post on my fb hopefully others will like it too.

Brenda said...

Hi Sateigdra,
I only just saw your comment on this post. You make me smile when you say you have to hide the onion in something or add something to it. Sometimes it is only when we know that something is good for us that we start to really want it.