Thursday, 29 November 2012

I see the Son

In this post I just feel to share some poems that I have written on my walk with the Lord.  I hope they would encourage those believers who read them to continue to trust in the true light of the world, Jesus, in all circumstances.

 
 I see the sun
arising on this world of confusion, its rays reaching out to penetrate even the deepest forests and the darkest caves.  It seeks to take away the cold and the darkness that the night has caused, and to replace them with warmth and light.
 
 
I see rays
that are of such power that the very earth itself seems to rise up to meet them, as if it has been waiting for this dawning, eager to thrust off the terror of the night which once seemed to have no end.
 
 
I see Jesus
'For thou art my lamp O Lord: and the Lord will lighten my darkness.'  2 Samuel ch.22 v.29
 
 
 
To be just like Jesus
 
'Oh for an easy life' they say
'where nothing ever goes wrong'
that's what the world cries out for
but Lord it's not my song
For how would I ever learn patience
without tribulation and trial
and how could I ever endure hard times
yet still be able to smile?
But I say 'Oh to be just like Jesus
to be like the One raised from the dead'
So I'll glory in my afflictions
while the power of God rests on my head
 
 
Horizon

The place where our sun does both rise and set
seems forever out of reach ....and yet
if we walk a straight road at a steady pace
will we not reach one day that unreachable place?
For as far as our own eye is able to see
is the only horizon where we need to be
But when we reach that great line where we'd seen the sun
behold .... as we look there's another one
and the goal that we sought on life's tangled track
is now far behind and we mustn't look back
For we travel life's road making many mistakes
but if we learn from them all then it's worth the heartaches
and if we learn from our journey and have faith in God
not treading again where we've already trod
there's a final horizon awaits you and me
with the most beautiful sunset we ever will see
So what is God telling me through this I ask
is it that in our lives there is always the task
of looking ahead to what we can achieve
and not looking back to what's  caused us to grieve?
For each goal that we set if it's good in God's eyes
will always be blessed if one only tries
But even in times when we walk the wrong track
and a load that's too heavy is strapped to our back
our Lord will correct us and turn us away
from the path on our journey that leads us astray
So do not be anxious or filled with dismay
at what may be round every bend
We've a Father that loves us, who'll show us the way
with a Son who's a trustworthy friend
 
Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.  Isaiah ch.26 v.4
 
 



Monday, 19 November 2012

The space

I was reading a post on www.wivestownhallconnection.com/ the other day and the blogger, Eya, had related an incident concerning her wearing six inch high heeled shoes when she really felt she shouldn't have.  As I read it I saw the comical side of the story and was reminded of something that had happened to me years ago which had a funny side to it but also a 'lesson learned' side.  Eya's lesson was not to walk on stilts again (ha ha, sorry Eya), mine was as follows....
 
I had been to a prayer meeting at a local church fellowship, where much of the theme had been about patience.   I came out of the meeting with most of these thoughts fresh in my mind.  My friend and myself decided to go to the supermarket, and on the way we met a man that I used to live near.  'Hello' I said, and was about to say 'I was only talking about you the other day' when I remembered that the 'talking about you the other day' was a neighbour of this man telling me that the man and his wife had parted.  I did not want to embarrass him so I said nothing.  We had a very pleasant conversation and I went off feeling quite 'pleased' with myself at being so tactful.

After visiting the supermarket I dropped my friend off at her house and proceeded to go home when I suddenly remembered that I did not have any bread in the house.  I wanted the bread from the bakers in the middle of town but did not want to pay sixty pence (how mean can you get) car park fee, so I thought that I would park at the edge of town in a narrow street that had free parking for an hour, which was a rarity as most streets had double yellow lines.  I decided that the walk back to the bakers was better than paying the sixty pence car park fee, which was nearly the price of the loaf at the time.
 
When I arrived at this particular street there was just one space left empty.  I was about to pull into it when I noticed a lady who was just driving out of a pub car park into the street, which was a dead end, in order to come out onto the main road.  'Oh', I thought, 'I'll let her out and then pull into the space'. 
 
 I then also noticed a man in a car that had been turning at the top of the street.  This disturbed my peace a little as I thought he might be going into what had already in my mind become 'my space'.  Then guilt crept in and I thought 'Well he was in the street before me, and if he was going to go into the space then he would be entitled to it'.  Then the thought went through my mind that he had already passed the space, being at the top end of the street, so maybe he was the previous occupier of the space, and was just turning around to come out onto the main road also. 

My peace returned and I remained at the entrance of the street, just to the left so that these two cars could come out onto the main road, after which I could drive into 'my space' as it was now firmly established in my mind.  Smiling faces and courtesy were all around, with the lady waiting to come out of the pub car park into the side street, with the man who had by now turned at the top of the street and was facing me preparing to come out of the street, and with myself waiting to go into the space after they had both come out.


 
Suddenly the happy picture became distorted.  There was a large car pulling into the street alongside me.  'Can't he see me waiting to go in and these two waiting to come out?' I thought.  'Beep', I gave him a gentle attention catcher, pointing to the situation inside the street, and waited for a response.  The only response was his slowly moving into the street.  'He's trying to get into my space!'   By now peace was disappearing and anger was shoving it's way in with steel elbows. 

'Beep Beep!'  Now much louder attention catchers, and twice as many.   He turned to me with a look that said 'I'm half in now, I might as well go'.  Feeling a threat in the fact that he might have to pull into the space to get out of the way of the other two cars, and that there was nothing I could do about it, suspicion and frustration joined anger in the void left by vacating peace.   However, he drove past the space and tucked himself into a turning area at the top of the street.
   

                            Hastily drawn cartoon of the situation

Once more guilt stepped in to question me over my thinking that the man was intending on stealing 'my space'.   He might not even have noticed me waiting at the entrance of the street.   He may have thought I was a parked car.   After all, I had left the centre of the road free to allow the two cars to come out.   I began to feel shame dropping as a mantle over me.   Suddenly another car entered the street from the main road, this time with a woman driving it. I beeped the horn and pointed out the situation once more, but she proceeded to try to enter the street.   Now shame pulled away with guilt following close behind, and frustration and anger ballooned to such a size that there was no room for anything else. I pulled out into the middle of the road to prevent this new 'space-stealer' from entering the street and immediately tried to drive into the space, which was in front of the car I had been waiting behind.

Afraid that this new lady might drive into the space instead of me, I did not pull forward enough to allow myself to be able to reverse close enough to the curb so that the lady in the car park could get past me. After several attempts, with an audience of the man waiting at the top of the street, the lady waiting in the car park, the man tucked in the turning area, and the lady waiting behind me, the lady in the pub car park motioned to me that if I moved forward past the car park entrance, then she would be able to get out and I would be able to park my car in the space.

Shame returned as anger and frustration diminished in size.  Suspicion edged its way in as a reminder that maybe the lady behind me would move into the space as I pulled forward, but I realised I had no alternative.  I pulled forward and the lady came out of the car park and drove out of the street.  There was no sign of the potential 'space stealer' and I reversed slowly into the space.  By now there was no room in my mind for anything except shame and humiliation.   Frustration and anger, along with ridiculous suspicion, had been pushed out by these far more powerful spirits.

I lowered my head as the man who had been patiently waiting all this time at the top of the street passed me by to go out onto the main road, and the man who had tucked himself in the turning area pulled into the pub car park, probably where he'd always intended to go.

Where was my Christianity?  If the Lord had appeared at that very moment and asked the righteous to step forward, probably everyone in the street including those in the pub would have been more entitled to respond to His call than I would have been.    Righteousness is born in thought, but I had allowed wickedness to take residence.   Not wanting to embarrass my ex neighbour was the right thing to do, but this had become smug self righteousness in the light of my latest actions.   I should have been more concerned about the space that housed the spirits than the space that housed my car.

I sadly went for my loaf of bread and thought about the spiritual bread the Lord had already offered me in the prayer meeting, the words on patience.

Slowly but surely the Lord is changing me and the Holy Spirit  has been, and still is, convicting me in areas that I hardly realize are there, until His light comes into my darkness.
Flesh will justify flesh according to the carnal mind's justification as to what and who is  right in a situation, and it is only when I use the Lord's ways as the plumbline I can see who my advisers really are.

Lord help me to listen when I hear You speak
create in me a spirit that is lowly and meek
that I should be a 'doer' Father of Your precious word
and not just walk away forgetting all that I have heard
 
                                             

Friday, 2 November 2012

Restoration


My last two posts were on the subject of 'rescue' and 'recovery', and recently the word 'restoration' has been on my mind.  It reminded me of three stages of the Lord's intervention in my life.  The first stage being the necessity of the gospel of Christ and His saving power initially being in my life.  The second stage being my gentle recovery as a baby in Him, going through the 'milk' feeding of  what I must do to be saved.  The third stage involving the Lord's 'restoration' of me, and my maturing in Christ as spoken about in Hebrews ch. 6 v.1 'Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,'
 
An incident that happened in my life kept coming into my mind which I had put into a little booklet that I had created on my computer some years back.  I would like to share it as a testimony of how I felt the Lord speaking to me on this occasion.  I presented it in my booklet as a letter to the Lord, and called the article :-


Beautiful white messenger

Dear Lord,

My darling little dove was in distress, and I could not bear to see her unable to walk, with wing feathers snapped and bleeding from where she had futilely flapped against the cardboard sides of her pen, trying to gain control.  She had been with me for fourteen months and I had grown to love her very much.  I had found her injured in the grounds of the local psychiatric hospital, and You had given me hope for her in the words 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible' when I had sought You to heal her.  You even had me see a van with the words ' Console yourself ' written on the side that afternoon, knowing how I would respond to those words. 

And so I did not take her to the vet, but made her as comfortable as I could in the large brick shed at the bottom of our garden, believing that You would heal her, and that she would eventually go back to the grounds of the hospital.
 
 
For nearly fourteen months I had  cared for her, feeding her, washing her, watching her slowly regain the strength to stand and walk with the aid of flapping her wings.  Often I wondered why You did not heal her fully, why I did not see in this little bird the kind of power I had seen in some of my own situations.  I thought of the times You had brought about supernatural healing in my body, sometimes immediately, sometimes over a period of time, and then I also realised that some physical ailments I have had for years, and I had to accept there was, and still is, so much I do not know about Your ways, that 'the secret things belong to God, those revealed belong to us.' (Deuteronomy ch.29 v.29)



Although it was hard over the months to see the dove unable to fly, there were also good times when I learned little things about her personality, such as how she would flick her wing slightly when she was annoyed with my fussing over her.  Constantly I prayed for her and along the way You had spoken to me straight from Your written word, as You did the day I had cleared the work bench in front of the window in the shed, and built a large pen of strong cardboard, open with a covered section at one end.  It looked like a boat and reminded me of Noah's ark.  I had cut a window in the covered part, with a raised platform in front of it so that she could look out through the large window of the shed into the garden, and had been both thrilled and amused to see that, when she had eaten and drunk from the open part of her pen,  she would flap her wings and almost run back to the covered section to jump up onto the platform and sit looking out of her window. 


That morning after I had made her comfortable in her new home I went indoors, picked up my Bible to read, and opened it straight to a scripture that I had encircled some time earlier for some reason.  It was in Isaiah ch.60 v.8 and spoke about the returning exiles flying 'like doves to their windows.'



It was then I began to connect my little dove to Your church Lord, and I felt that there was something greater than physical healing involved here.  I could see as I read the passage containing this scripture, that this was talking about Your people Israel, and the little dove was being used to convey to me Your love for Your church,  (spiritual Israel)  that was in the same spiritual state, and Your desire to have us to return to You and walk in Your ways.  You had brought me to read other scripture where Israel is referred to as a dove, and I pondered on the fact that if I could love this little injured dove enough to want to do all I could to make it comfortable and to pray for it to be healed, how much greater Your love and compassion to want we, Your spiritually injured people, to be put right and return to You, and for us to want to pray for one another accordingly.


I have always found it very easy to love all creatures, and get very distressed when I see them injured, even to the point that I can not kill a spider or use slug pellets in the garden.  I thought about Jonah who had more concern for the gourd than he'd had for the people of Nineveh, and had to admit that there was a similarity with me and people in the church sometimes if I allowed my natural emotions to dictate in my life, and probably other Christians felt that way about me sometimes too.  And so I had prayed for myself and all of Your church, according to what You had revealed to me, believing that it was Your will.

There were the times when the little dove made me laugh, like when I put a new high energy seed in her dish and she jumped from her platform, raced towards it and spread her wing over it as if to stop me from having any of it.  Then there was the day when her leg seemed to be particularly bad and I sought You once again.  You had highlighted another scripture to me in the same way.   This time it was ' Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts; do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.' ( Psalm ch. 74 v.19 ), and I had prayed this both for my little dove and Your church.  After she had been with me about twelve months her feathers had renewed themselves to the extent that she was eventually lovely and white again with fine long tail feathers.

And so it had continued, for fourteen months I had cared for the little dove, my love for it bringing me to seek Your help, Your word causing me to see Your love for the church, and bringing me to pray for both. 

And now this!  I had gone in to see her and she was huddled in a corner with wing feathers and tail feathers snapped and covered in blood.  She could no longer walk, and when she tried to she spun round  helplessly with her constant flapping propelling her all over the place.  I had to ask myself if You was trying to show me the state that Your church is in.  Once again I prayed and You gave me scripture from Jeremiah ch. 33 'Behold I will bring to it health and healing, and I will lead them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.  I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first.  I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.' 

Several days went by and she had not improved.  I felt I could no longer bear to see her suffering and telephoned the Bird Hospital.  A very kind lady answered the phone and I tearfully explained the situation.  Her response was so compassionate, saying that the kindest thing would be to put the little bird to sleep, that I felt as if someone had come alongside me to remove the burden from me, and I arranged to take the dove to the hospital that morning.

I placed the little bird in a cardboard box making her as comfortable as I could on some towelling, and set off for the Bird Hospital with the box on my lap while my husband drove the car.  I felt desperately sad, silently crying as we journeyed, feeling that I had failed the little bird, and You Lord, by not being able to ignore what I saw happening and wait for a miracle, as Abraham had when told to sacrifice his son.  Wasn't that what You had wanted me to do when You had said that ' all things were possible with God ', and shown me the words ' console yourself '?  Yet the little bird seemed at ease, allowing me to stroke her head without pecking at my fingers.  I felt there was a peace about her, almost as if she was relieved at not having to struggle to walk any more.  She just sat there looking around, quite settled, even preening her feathers a little. 

I felt confused, sad ...... and yet peaceful at the same time, and it crossed my mind that the scriptures regarding Abraham and his son had never been shown me for the bird.



On the way to the Bird Hospital I noticed a poster advertising a film called 'Flight plan'.  The words stood out to me and I felt that You was speaking to me through them, telling me that You was in command of the bird's situation, even though I did not understand what was going on, and the scripture 'Every day of my life was written in His book before even one of them was yet formed' drifted into my mind, confirming to me that You knew what I was going to do on this particular day before it came along, that it was written into God's plan for a purpose and I felt, rather than understood,  the depth of your love and compassion.   Love and compassion for me in knowing that what You was allowing regarding the bird was more than I could bear, and making a way out.  Love and compassion for the bird in its apparent peace, comfort and acceptance in its situation.  I had seen this love of Yours in a similar situation with a little cat that I had loved dearly, and I felt that the bird would fly, but not in the way I had expected.  I was reminded of my 'death experience' when I was twenty eight, and that where You are there is no death, only love and joy and peace of mind, that in You we are Spirit and that the dove was also part of the whole of creation that awaits adoption.


Sometime after we had passed the poster I asked my husband what 'flight plan' meant.  He said that every aircraft had to have a plan before it took off, with details of all that would go on from setting off to destination, and that the film advertised was about a woman who got on a plane with her daughter.  She fell asleep during the flight, and when she awoke her daughter was missing.  I had a strong feeling that it was right that the dove would disappear from my life that day.  At that moment we passed another poster advertising the film, and I felt as if You was confirming what I was thinking.  We had to leave the main road to travel down a long, winding, very rough path to get to the Bird Hospital and, both as we left the main road and rejoined it on the way back home the same white van was, incredibly, in front of us.  It had a number plate which included the name 'Ruth' in it, which means 'female friend', and the kindness and compassion of the lady who met us at the reception, the lady I had already spoken to on the phone, was such that I felt that even she had been placed there on that day by You Lord, for the very purpose of doing what she would do.

She had offered to come up to meet us at the point where the lane met the main road.  We had declined the offer but I felt even that had emphasised that she was the 'female friend', the 'Ruth' sent by You Lord.  Later, I sent her a little book of spiritual poems that I have written and prayed that my God would become her God also, just as Naomi's God had become Ruth's God. 

For days after I felt so sad and confused, praying to You for understanding of what the last fourteen months was about.  Then You showed me in Ezekiel ch. 14 how Your judgements came upon Your people because of their idolatry and how Ezekiel would be consoled by the fact that God did not judge without cause.  It was the word 'console' that stirred my spirit.  I started to realise that right from the beginning, though I had been praying for the physical dove, Your Holy Spirit had been praying for Spiritual Israel, Gods church on earth.

When I looked at the whole situation of the dove through God's eyes I could see that she had been used to portray to me that salvation of the soul through the Holy Spirit involves the 'destruction of the flesh', the putting to death that which is carnal.  This is the healing that You want for us.  You had been showing me right from the beginning that this healing was not possible with man, that it was impossible for mankind to save itself, but that salvation was possible with God, and had told me to console myself.  You had also shown me that You would not leave the soul of Your dove to the wild beasts, that You had left Your Holy Spirit on earth to be our teacher as You revealed Your instruction to us through the scriptures, showing us daily what was good and what was evil in Your sight by using former Israel as examples.

I realised that the blood on my little dove had been like the guilt of our sin against You but that just as You had brought her to Yourself You would bring us to Yourself if we followed the 'flight plan', the plan of salvation You have for every individual in Your church. 

That Sunday as I sat at my computer to start to write this, I put a music c.d on and the first song that was sung was 'Be Thou my vision'.  Later that evening I asked my husband to put songs of praise on and, as he turned it on, the song being sung was 'Be Thou my vision', Your voice telling me that in order for me to win the race of salvation I must see all things through Your eyes.

When I first had my little dove I called her 'Beauty', because she was beautiful.  When my sister first saw her she called her 'Gwyn', the Welsh word for white.  When I told my friend in Lancashire about her she called her 'Angel', meaning messenger, and even these things were written into Your plan for me Lord, because You sent her to me as Your beautiful, white messenger.  I thank You Lord for the little dove, I know that she is with You.  Through all of this, help me to look back on my own carnal weakness, but to move forward in Your Spiritual strength.  Bring me to love and pray for my spiritual brothers and sisters in the way You would have all of us love and pray for one another, unconditionally, as I did for Your beautiful white messenger.

Lord I thank You

Lord I thank You for Your love
for all You taught me through Your dove
I know You had her come that day
'though she was never meant to stay
that I be shown through Spirit eye
that flesh it is that has to die
So help me Lord to run the race
to love all people by Your grace
that I might truly do in You
the work that You called me to do


Saturday, November 3rd

Today, the day after I put this post on my blog, I opened my Bible to read and opened straight to the page with this Psalm on.


'Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!  It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.'   Psalm 133