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
 

29 comments:

Priscy said...

This is touching Brenda... very touching with so many lessons to be learnt. I have taken some notes and I'm definatly going to leave by them.

Sorry the dove had to die, but its also a good thing that God took you through all those phases and made you experience him in a way like that.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful testimony with us.

Child of God said...

Hi Brenda,
What a beautiful, sad story. The meaning is so deep and I love how you made connections to God's Word.
You said, 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. God is teaching me that although He desires to heal us physically, His greatest desire is to heal us spiritually.

Thank you for sharing this. The flight plan of our God is found in Scripture. All the directions and instructions are there for us in our daily living. All the answers to all the questions about how to do things are right there for us to know.

Blessings hon,
<><

Frank Blasi said...

A very touching and moving article.
It is noteworthy that when the Holy Spirit settled on Jesus during his baptism, he came in the form of a dove.
Excellent post.

Brenda said...

Dear Priscy,
thankyou for your kind comment. I think of the little dove now as one of my 'teachers'.
God Bless you.

Brenda said...

Hi child of God,
yes, sometimes something so sad is also something so beautiful, just like the crucifixion. It is knowing what follows these terribly sad things that makes them beautiful.

Brenda said...

Hi Frank,
yes that is very true, there are so many things that link together in the scriptures and the timing of God in everyone's life is incredible. I am sure that all people have wonderful instances of God speaking in their lives, as I read in your and other people's stories.

Brenda said...

Just to mention to Priscy, coG and Frank, when I opened my Bible to read this morning I opened straight to Psalm 133.

T-Childs said...

Wonderful post Brenda, and very touching and illuminating. Life can be sad, but God lets us see the bigger picture; He has conquered death and through Him so can we.

Brenda said...

Hi Tim,
yes you are right. Life becomes totally different when we come to know Jesus as a living Saviour, and not just a person who was crucified two thousand years ago.

Child of God said...

Hi Brenda,
The unity of the followers of Jesus Christ is a beautiful thing to behold.

Thanks for sharing that Psalm.
<><

Brenda said...

Hi child of God,
yes and it is there that 'the LORD commands blessing, even life forever more.'

Eya said...

I am so touched by "Beauty's" story. The way you connect to the lessons God has for you is amazing. It is better for the dove to sleep and rest than to go through unbearable pain. So sorry about her exit from your life.

Brenda said...

Thankyou Eya,
I learned so much when she was with me, and I believe that there are things that connect in all our lives with what God is trying to tell us.

Bishop Dennis Campbell said...

It is amazing how the things of nature lead us to God, if we are willing to follow.

Blessings.

Brenda said...

Yes, the Lord's ways of speaking so that we understand never cease to amaze me and, as you have said, the 'leading to God' depends on our willingness to follow.

AFRICAN WARRRIORS said...

Sobering... Very Sobering. This is a whole year's sermon. May we always be open to God and may we always seek and find Him by the spirit. It will always makes all the difference. Blessings

Brenda said...

Hello my friend,
lovely to meet you. Amen to 'may we always seek and find Him by the spirit.'
God bless you

Jephyr said...

Hi Brenda,

Computer issues and life's distractions have kept me from coming to your blog for a while.

This is a beautiful story of your little, beautiful, white messenger
...so sad and yet filled with God's love.

As an animal lover I can certainly understand your love for this little creature...and as a Christian I understand the metaphor for God's people...and His love and care for us.

Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story!

Brenda said...

Hi Jephyr,
yes, God has an amazing way of speaking to us doesn't He. Don't worry about when you visit, it is just good to all keep contact once in a while. My life is very busy at the moment too.
God bless

Never Forsaken said...

Hi Brenda,

What a tender story and powerful testimony of how God's will works in the lives of His children, every detail being carefully orchestrated by the Master Creator...everything that happens fits exactly according to His plan for us as an individual, as well as the Church incorporately! Israel is to be entreated into our hearts, as it is the heart of God!

Where I live it is very rare to see a white dove. She was indeed a beautiful white messenger from God.

~God Bless~ Lisa

Brenda said...

Hi Lisa,
Yes I believe absolutely that, as you say, 'everythig that happens fits exactly according to His plan for us as an individual, as well as the Church incorporately' The Church is God's Spiritual Israel and every day in our lives is written in His book before even one of them was formed. There are things which happened to God's Israel as a whole and the individuals within, that reflect as both warnings and encouragement for us today. The word of God is alive in Jesus. Praise His lovely name.
God bless you.

Sateigdra L Knowles said...

This post was so great, reminds me of the post you did after this what I read last night about you and the car park debacle lol. We really got to wait for the Lord, just trust in Him. I have read on several different occasions this week and last week about the flesh needing to die, I think it's a message to me. I get so frustrated and easily annoyed with people, mostly people my age, a lot of the young adults in the church group I'm in, when I see them say foolish things and then claim they're Christians it annoys me but I try to hold my tongue and not burst out saying things I more than likely will regret.

I realized I need to be more patient, and loving, and kind, and like mentioned in Micah I need to love mercy and walk humbly with God. For a young person that's hard, for anybody that's hard I guess, but like you mentioned in this post, if we could see things through Our Lord Jesus eyes perhaps we would react differently to things.

What makes me sad is when I know better, I still do what I feel is right. I know what I'm suppose to do in a situation but i find myself constantly justifying wicked acts over and over gain in my head saying well, he was rude so he deserves this or they're foolish so they deserve this, or they're selfish and insensitive so I'm not wrong for acting this way, and I go on to do thing's I shouldn't afterward the Holy Spirit convicts me and I start feeling so bad even to tears.

I think i'm hasty when i do many things, I never wait and hardly listen to the Holy Spirit, I know my flesh needs to die because many times I see myself walking according to it when I know I'm suppose to be walking in the Holy Spirit.

And you know what's worse, I feel like a complete hypocrite afterwards, I'm telling people how the Lord wants them to act yet many times I'm not doing it myself, perhaps I'm still a babe in Christ, I'm not even sure. But This post made me think a lot about my walk with Jesus and all the areas I need work. I don't want to be like a whitewash tomb, pretty and clean and white on the outside but on the inside the exact opposite.

It feels so hard sometimes, and I wonder why does it feel this way, Jesus said His yolk is light, yet sometimes I feel like this is really really hard, how can I love a rude person, how can I love somebody who is insensitive and mean, somebody who can't see kindness if it was on the tip of their nose. All I know for sure is I want to please God and I'm trying my best, but there is so much I still don't get at all.

Brenda said...

Sateigdra,
when we realize just who it is that wants us to retaliate then the battle becomes easier. The battle is spiritual and the enemy is the one who wants us to live and think according to the carnal mind. One of the first scriptures the Lord gave me in order to help me in this battle was 'take every thought into captivity'. It is contained within 'We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.' 2 Corinthians ch.10 v.5. Another scripture He gave me was 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.' I began to realize that the thief was coming into my mind and trying to rob me of my salvation, of having my mind renewed in Christ Jesus. It was then that I could see that we do not sin against one another, we are actually being encouraged by the enemy to sin against God because those 'retaliation' and 'justification' thoughts are going against how God is telling us to react. There are times when we have to go to one another when we have something against a person or they against us, and there are times when we must make no friends with an angry man, but we gradually come to know those times through the Holy Spirit's teachings. I and probably all other Christians are, and have gone through, all the testings that you are going through, and if we see it as a spiritual battle it becomes much easier. It is very easy to love those who love us, that is what the flesh does. The real test comes when those who 'irritate' us are brought into our lives. As I communicate with God and come to know His voice what I realize more and more is that He is bringing me out of my 'carnal prison' into total freedom. Why should we let the devil win eh? If Jesus loved me enough to hang on that cross,not keeping a record of my wrongs, then I want to know that kind of love in my heart.
God bless you in your trials. Don't let the devil win.

Sateigdra L Knowles said...

Thank you so much,this really helps me out, it reminded me of things that I already knew but I was allowing the enemy to step in and take control when I know better. There are times when I know exactly what God wants me to do, but I feel this person is wrong for doing this to me so I'm going to let them have it, then I feel terrible, you are right it is a battle, because I feel all battered about it.

I'm going to keep praying. I always think in my heart and more than likely it's the Holy Spirit bringing this to my memory, also probably convicting me through the scripture that talks about the man who looks in the mirror at his natural face then walks away and forgets what type of man he is, I think it's in James. I always say in my heart, I don't want to be that guy, but honestly I've been that guy when I get upset, when I feel i've been treated unfairly, I feel like I become the same thing I really don't want to be, the very thing I fear. I thank God for meeting people like you and Kelline and others I know His Holy Spirit is speaking to me through.

God is so loving He tries many different ways to get a message across to us. Can you believe I just came out of a Bible study group and they had a handout and the topic was "the attitude of gratitude", how amazing is that. I was just telling you how the tenant who lives here is ungrateful. I am in awe of how amazing God is, I think now I'm starting to put all the pieces together as to what God is trying to tell me. Thank you again sister, I pray God continues to bless and guide you, I pray He continues to guide us all.

Brenda said...

What is coming straight into my mind now is what God often speaks to each one of us, He says 'Be still and know that I am God'.
God bless you

Meftun Tenikeci said...

Hayvan hakları konusundaki ilginiz için çok teşekkürler.Türkiye den selamlar...

Brenda said...

You are very welcome Meftun. I love animals and birds.

Jimmie Speed said...

You have an awesome page an testimony to God.

Brenda said...

Hello Jimmie,
welcome to my blog, God is awesome isn't He?