Thursday, 28 March 2013

My journey through the wilderness - Part 2

Sure enough, it was not long before I was experiencing all the trials and temptations that the children of Israel had experienced.  The battles were many, just like theirs, only theirs had been physical and mine were spiritual.  Glimpses of an easier time in my old, sinful life flashed through my mind, just like their thoughts had turned to the cucumbers and melons they had enjoyed in Egypt instead of the daily 'manna' they had to eat in the wilderness.
 
Sometimes it was very hard to put into practice God's word, even though I knew it was for my own good.  I knew that I had to let go of all the things that were sinful in my nature, the things that opposed God.  I had to leave behind my old life, I had been born again of God's Spirit and now had to learn His ways.  I had to have my mind renewed in Christ.  My old way of life had brought separation from God, the spiritual death that all mankind had inherited through Adam.



As I was shown scripture in Colossians ch. 3 vs.5-10, telling me to 'put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.  In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.  But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.'  my natural mind told me 'impossible'.  However, by then I was already being shown that what was not possible with man was possible with God and my prayers to Him, and even what I felt were His instruction to me, had been coming out in a way which was completely extraordinary to me, in song and poem form.  



There were other scriptures which I was shown that the natural mind might interpret as harsh, as in DON'T DO THAT!!, but which my renewed mind was beginning to see more as a loving voice saying 'Child, I don't want you to be deceived into walking away from the blessings in Me'.  One of those scriptures was Hebrews ch. 6 vs. 4-6. 'For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding Him up to contempt.'  

  


The more I prayed to God to help me on my journey, the more He kept feeding me with the Word to instruct me, and giving me songs and poems of encouragement.  
The following are a song and poem that were written at particularly difficult stages of my Christian walk, and a scripture of encouragement that was given to me during that time.


Let go

Let go of the things that are holding you child
the things that will keep you from Me
each sin you hold onto is forming the crown 
that was placed on My head can't you see
Let the chains round your heart be unlocked by My love
let the light of My truth enter in
there's no longer a sentence of death on you child
if you'll only let go of your sin

Let go, let go of your burden my child

lift your eyes and look into My face
see the blood running out from the wound in My side
as I'm nailed to this cross in your place
see the water that flows from beneath My torn heart
it's a river of life to you now
but while you're holding on to the things of this world
there's a thorn pressing deep in My brow

So let go of the things that are drawing you back

to this world and its pleasures again
for although they appear to be joy for a while
they can only bring suffering and pain
I was wounded and pierced for the sins of this world
My stripes show the terrible price
and if you turn again from what I've saved you from
there remains no more sacrifice  


Put away the mirror child

Put away the mirror child  lay it on a shelf
it won't reflect perfection  it only shows you self
look into the well of life and see another face
the face of God the Father - full of truth and grace




This water  - it will cleanse you from the filthiness of sin
throw off the rags of this world - come son of Adam step in
Yes put away the mirror child and lay it on a shelf
lest you forget what God's making you 
.......... and become your former self


'Therefore brothers and sisters, we have an obligation - but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it.  For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.  For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.'  Romans ch.8 vs.12-14 


Thank You Father for sending us Your Holy Spirit which we could only receive through the amazing sacrifice of Your Son Jesus.  'By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive.  Up to that time the Spirit had not been given since Jesus had not yet been glorified'. John ch.7 v.39  


Easter Poem

Forever grateful Father
that You gave your precious Son
who, knowing His awesome destiny
said 'Not my will but Your will be done'
Yet it pleased You to bruise Him Father
so that I might have peace and be healed
for through this one act of sacrifice
was Your gift of salvation revealed

Forever remembering Jesus
that You hung upon that tree
taking the pain and punishment
that was meant for a sinner like me
Yet You chose not to open Your mouth Lord
and call on the Heavenly host
to come to Your aid on that lonely day
No...... You suffered and gave up the ghost

Forever Yours Holy Spirit
while You teach me and make all things clear
chastising me when I go astray
and wiping away each tear
Oh Father I love and respect You
and Jesus I want to obey
so guide me great Spirit and keep me
'til my Lord returns for me one day

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.  2 Corinthians ch.8 v.15

Monday, 18 March 2013

My journey through the wilderness- Part 1

I came across some older writings of mine containing part of my early testimony and thought I would share it on my blog.  Although we put posts on our blogs, we can sometimes know very little of one another's testimonies so I thought it would be nice to share a little of mine on this post.   It will be in two or three parts because of the length of it.

Coming out of Egypt

I had not long come into the church and many Christians, wishing to help me in my Christian walk, brought me books and tapes on Christian doctrines, so many in fact that I began to feel swamped.  Up until that time I felt my teaching had been very pure, from the Holy Spirit, just God and me and the Bible.  Now I had all these different voices coming in from different directions, and when I tried to learn from these tapes and books they appeared to contradict one another.  So I asked God to show me what was true.  My prayer came out in the form of a song.

Crossroads

Father I ask You which road do I take

which sign points the way to Your throne
I'm stood at the crossroads of life and death
and I can't find the way on my own
I can't find the way on my own, my own
I can't find the way on my own                                         
I'm stood at the crossroads of life and death
and I can't find the way on my own

Show me the way Lord to blessing and life

I ask You to open my eyes
There's so many voices saying 'This is the way'
I can't tell the truth from the lies
I can't tell the truth from the lies - the lies
I can't tell the truth from the lies
There's so many voices saying 'This is the way'
I can't tell the truth from the lies

So take my hand Jesus and lead me along 

the road leading back to my God
I want no great riches in this world of sin 
I need only Your staff and Your rod















I need only Your staff and Your rod my Lord 
I need only Your staff and Your rod
I want no great riches in this world of sin 
I need only Your staff and Your rod


God answered me through several scriptures that I knew the Holy Spirit was pointing out to me.  I was shown that when the Israelites were coming out of Egypt they were told to eat only unleavened bread (Exodus ch.13 v.3).  I could see that as a newly born Christian (part of God's spiritual Israel) I was at that stage spiritually, just coming out from the slavery of the world, so I too had to eat unleavened bread.  I wanted to know what these words meant spiritually, as the Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians ch. 2 v.14 'But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.'  I wanted to know what God was telling me here.  


I could see from Matthew ch. 16 vs. 6 - 12 that the word 'leaven' referred to 'man added' doctrine.  'Be careful', Jesus said to them.  Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.'  They discussed this among themselves and said, 'It is because we didn't bring any bread.'  Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked“You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The whole of John ch. 6 is about Jesus being the bread of life.  He is also portrayed as the 'Word of God'  in John ch.1 v.1.  I felt the Holy Spirit was telling me that I had to receive the undoctrined word of God.  Some of the books and tapes that I had been given appeared to have teachings that were additional to, and which appeared to me to contradict, the scriptures.  The words that my father often spoke to settle arguments when issues arose amongst we his children, 'Let's see what the Lord says',  constantly came back to my mind, so I sought the Lord for His guidance and wisdom in my trials.   I also realized, as the Bible says, that the gate would be narrow and hard would be the road that led to life,(Matthew ch. 7 vs. 13,14), and there could be no compromising with the world if I was to serve God and work out my salvation. 



The children of Israel, on their journey to the promised land, had gone through many trials and temptations, and many had fallen on the way.  I would travel a similar journey and they would be an example to me of what to do and what not to do as I learned.  The Bible confirms this in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians in Corinthians ch.10 vs. 1 - 11 which reads 'For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.  They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.  They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiriutal rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.  Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.  Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.  Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: 'The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.'  We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did -and in one day twenty three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did and were killed by snakes.  And do not grumble, as some of them did and were killed by the destroying angel.  These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.'

I did not want to fall so I prayed to God constantly to help me.  One of my prayers took the form of a poem which I called :-

No compromise

Father keep me faithful 
to all that I have heard
while listening to Your Spirit 
ground me in Your Word
Keep me on that path Lord 
upon that narrow road
no matter how hard the journey 
no matter how heavy the load
Lord keep me obedient 
to all You're telling me
release me from all worldly bonds
Father set me free


And Lord if I should grumble
saying 'Manna every day'
remind me of Your sacrifice
and the price You had to pay
Open up my ears Lord 
to all You're telling me


for Lord I know Your discipline
can only set me free
and God forbid that I should fall
because of unbelief
when seeking after worldly things
can only bring me grief


So if a soul should say to me
'Just a little compromise'
remind me that a little sin
is still sin in Your eyes
and who am I to tamper
with the perfect Word of God
when I know the One who holds the staff
can also use the rod
So Lord prepare that place for me
that mansion in the sky
for although I've not yet won the race
.... I'm really going to try


Saturday, 2 March 2013

I will love Thee O Lord my strength

I was spending some time with an elderly lady down the road from me and we were discussing photography.  We both like taking pictures of birds and skies.  She told me that a problem she had was in taking pictures towards the sun and that whenever she did so it just reflected her own image back on the screen.  I told her that if she turned the lens downward towards the ground first, half depressed the shutter button, lifted the lens and faced it towards the sun and then fully depressed the shutter then the picture would come out fine and there would be no glare.  When I went home our conversation came back into my mind and I could see a simile in it.  It reminded me of the fact that just as the glare of the sun would be blinding if I tried to look directly at it so too I cannot look directly at God.  Jesus is my mediator and if I come humbly bowing before Him then I can see God in Him.  The way I communicate with God is not direct, it is through the Holy Spirit, and I must be humble and allow my own carnal mind to be renewed in Jesus in order to get the perfect picture.


Over the past few weeks the Lord has been speaking to me about a specific issue.  Sometimes it is only after a certain length of  time that I understand the whole of what He is trying to say to me, yet things link together and eventually I understand what He is saying.  It started with finding a thorn just under my fingernail.  I tried to get it out but could only trim my nail down and hope that it would grow out.  It improved over a few days.  Then a lady in church was sharing her weakness in an area in her life and reading out the first verse of Psalm 18, 'I love thee O Lord my strength', my favourite verse in the Bible.  I have put together in the past lots of pictures and verses or poems and I thought about a picture I had taken of a rose I have in my garden called 'fragrant cloud' on which I had placed that verse.  I thought 'I will take one in for her next week'.  When I got home I printed two of these  picture verses out and put them in small brass frames.   I took one in for her the following week and put the other one on my bedside cabinet. 

A few days after this I had some bad pain associated with something the Lord had spoken to me about for quite some years.  A scripture that I had been given by the Lord regarding this came into my mind.  It was the words spoken to the apostle Paul when he was given 'a thorn in the flesh', a messenger of Satan, to torment him.   'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness', (2 Corinthians ch.12 v.9) and I started to sing these words.  The pain went immediately.  Later that week I was talking to a friend on the phone, telling her what had happened and as I looked down onto the sofa I noticed a large rose thorn.   Where it had come from I do not know but things were starting to link together.  Then, when I went to the church I attend on the Sunday, the first song we sang had the line 'His grace is sufficient' in it.


The beginning of this testimony:-
One evening,about twenty two years ago  I had eaten a fish meal and believe that a small bone from the fish lodged in my throat.  We had to cancel going out with friends that evening as the discomfort grew worse.  Over the next few days things deteriorated even more.  It felt as if an abscess had developed low down at the back of my throat, and the pain was almost unbearable.  At the time I had for some years been seeking the Lord about sickness and  healing, and had felt that He had been teaching me to trust in His divine power to heal, which I had already experienced, but also to trust in what He was telling me to do no matter what.  I felt it had something to do with spiritual warfare.  

When I sought the Lord over this particular situation, He spoke to me through several scriptures that I kept opening to.  He kept showing me Isaiah 31 v.1 'Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD', verse 3 says 'the Egyptians are men, and not God, and their horses are flesh, and not spirit'.  I know that 'Egypt' stands for the world in the Bible and felt as though the Lord was instructing me here not to rely on man and his physical ability, but to rely on God and His spiritual capability.  

I could not forget that I had previously asked Him to teach me about sickness and healing, and why sometimes I had experienced healings and sometimes not.  He also spoke to me through 2 Chronicles ch.16 v.12, where Asa was diseased in his feet yet did not seek help  from the Lord but from the physicians.  Once again I felt that in this instance the Lord was telling me to rely on Him and not on man.  Shortly after this, my throat began to ease a little but a lump started to develop under my left arm.  Still the Lord spoke to me through the same scriptures when I sought Him and also through a poem which I had written.  In it I felt that I was being encouraged to listen to the words that the Lord was speaking to me, to take every thought into captivity and to recognize where the doubts were coming from.  I called it


Who Said?

Who said that I'll not heal you       
who told you child this lie
Who said that you will get much worse 
and points his finger to the curse?
My child .... It was not I
Who speaks new precious words of life 
to all who live in fear and strife
And says ' By faith shall live the just'      
if in their Lord they'll put their trust
For through God's word has been revealed 
that by my stripes you shall be healed
Who says your needs I'll satisfy
My precious child - was it not I ?

Beware the serpent oh so sly 
to steal your blessing he will try
My child it still remains your choice 
the devil's hiss or the Master's voice
For even in this latter day 
Satan keeps asking 'Did God say?'
Still questioning God's Holy Word 
hoping you'll doubt what you have heard
Don't listen child each time he tries 
to win you with his evil lies
Tell him this time it's not the same 
this time you wear your Saviour's name
The name of Jesus Christ - God's Son                  
by whom redemption has been won
And from the curse you've been reprieved 
if in my word you have believed
So stand within God's promise child 
by the devil's lies be not beguiled
And when he questions as you're led 
you say to him
'Yes God has said'


The Lord highlighted a scripture to me when I wrote the poem, it was from Revelation ch. 12 v.11.  At that time the only part that spoke to me was 'and they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb', but since I have started to write this testimony down, the other half of the scripture '... And by the word of their testimony' has been highlighted to me, and I believe the importance of testifying to one another about what the Lord is doing in our lives is being pointed out.  He also spoke to me through Psalm 116, a prayer of thanksgiving for recovery from illness.  One verse in particular stood out to me, it was 'I kept my faith, even when I said 'I am greatly afflicted'.  

Over the next few years a lump appeared under my right arm, another appeared under my left foot, and several glands swelled up.  My throat sometimes felt better, other times it hurt a lot, and it felt like a lump was growing in it.  Yet still, when I doubted and sought the Lord, He highlighted the same scriptures to me, and many others.  The more symptoms that appeared in my body, the more thoughts of what these symptoms could mean according to the knowledge of man and the medical profession came into my mind, bringing with it fear.  A few years ago, during one of these fearful times of concentrating on the symptoms, the Lord spoke to me through another poem that I entitled.


'The Journal'

I looked into the medical journal 
to see if my sickness was there
Scanned pages from start to finish  
my symptoms and pain to compare
I found there all sorts of malignants 
from tumours to non - healing sores
Bone fractures, coughs, colds and contagious 
diseases were there in their scores
I didn't feel better for reading 
I have to admit I felt worse
For the words written there spoke no blessing 
only page after page of a curse
So I looked in another great journal 
this too spoke of symptoms and pain
The symptoms were those of rebellion and sin 
but the pain there was all for man's gain
Yes the symptoms were mine and the rest of mankind
They were sorrow and torment and loss
But the pain was my Lord's to redeem many souls
As He hung in our place on that cross
So I'll close the big book that speaks only of strife
Inflicted by Satan - the liar
And I'll open the book that brings blessing and life
The one written of Jesus - Messiah


And so I have continued, believing one hundred percent that the Lord has been encouraging me all this time to trust in Him for my healing.  I know that He can heal, and is capable of doing that which is not possible for man to do.  I know that He still heals today, because I have been healed solely by His divine power several times, but I have also been learning over the past twenty five years to keep my faith in great affliction, and several of these lumps have disappeared and one occasion that this happened was used to encourage another person.

A few years ago a swelling that came up on my arm and an incident in another person's life caused more fears to creep into my mind, this time greater fears which were pointing to the symptoms being life threatening.  Again I sought the Lord and again He gave me scripture to combat the carnal thoughts that were trying to rob me of God's promise to me.  Yet again He told me that His grace was sufficient for me and that His power is made perfect in weakness.  This scripture was a great comfort to me because it had already been used in my life preceding a healing.  

The Lord also spoke to me through another poem which demonstrated to me the spiritual warfare that was going on in my mind and just who was the most powerful of the two opponents.  Through the scripture and the poem, I was being shown the enemy's tactics in causing fear in my mind, and being encouraged yet again to trust absolutely in the Lord's power and ability to defeat him.  This poem I called

An Enemy Stood At My Door


An enemy stood at my door - I recognized this foe

His tap was soft at first and he was calling out my name
He'd tried to rob mankind of truth a long, long time ago
And now he'd come to me to do the same
His knock grew louder with each strike - his voice began to rise
My heart was wildly beating and my mind was filled with fear
With curses pouring from his mouth he rent the air with lies
I froze at what I could not fail to hear
Within the door I looked around and sought a place to hide
A sanctuary of safety from the taunting and the jeers
The enemy like thunder now began to rage outside
With trembling hands I tried to block my ears
Then suddenly within the room a warrior appeared
His form was bathed in light and He was brandishing a sword
The power and the fury from the enemy I feared
Diminished as I recognized my Lord
'Don't be afraid child' Jesus said 'at all that you have heard
This foe will turn to ashes and his power fall as dust
Take refuge in my presence as I speak God's Holy word
Your peace will then return because you trust
The words that I shall speak to you are Spirit and are life
They bring into existence that which does not yet appear
And have a power of their own to banish all the strife
That's coming from this enemy you fear'
I looked into my Saviour's eyes and knew His words were true
That God had sent Him to my aid, this enemy to fight
He said 'My child just stay within the light surrounding you
Your foe dwells in the darkness of the night
And he will come to carnal mind to try to steal the seed
That I have planted in you as you seek me every day
Hold fast to all I've told you - to his threatening pay no heed
When dawn arrives the darkness must give way
For search within God's written word and you will surely see
That for this very purpose was made manifest God's Son
And how to me the Father granted all authority
To halt the workings of the evil one'
I listened to my Saviour and I spoke out what I heard
To counteract the curses of the foe outside the door
And marvelled when I realized the power of God's word
Commanded him to bother me no more
Then slowly, but with boldness now, I walked across the floor
And lifted latch with Jesus' words embedded in my mind
God's grace for me sufficient - When I opened up the door
No messenger of Satan could I find


After writing the poem, I wondered about the line 'this foe will turn to ashes and his power fall as dust', and thought 'Where did that come from?'.  A few days later I was reading the book of Job and came across verse twelve of chapter thirteen which reads 'Your maxims are proverbs of ashes, your defences are defences of clay'  Job's friends were being told by Job that what they had spoken was of the earth, a fleshly wisdom.  Elihu later states that it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand, and offers revealed knowledge rather than the voice of human experience and tradition.  I realized that I was in danger of allowing man's wisdom and knowledge to overrule the much higher wisdom and knowledge of the creator Himself.  The enemy only had a power over me whilst I was believing in the worldly wisdom and knowledge that was filling my mind above God's word..  His ultimate weapon was fear.


And now the Lord is speaking to  me again regarding this.


Early this week I was attending the funeral of a neighbour and the minister of the church where the funeral service was taking place was speaking about the neighbour's life. One of the things that he said was that the man had loved painting, and that two of the things he had shown the minister were a completely blue canvas with a yellow dot in the centre which he had called 'the power of one', and a completely blank canvas that he simply called 'a blank canvas'.  This brought into my mind how, if I put my trust in the One who has the power to do all things, I have to allow Him to work on the blank canvas of this 'new creation',  and I  must endeavour to keep 'the old man'  out of it as much as I can by trying not to reason with the carnal mind when I know, or believe I know, when the Lord has given me a word.  That way His power can be made perfect in my weakness.  I am not saying that it has always been easy but the more I try to act on His instruction to me the more I seem to hear His voice.

I have had many things happen over the past few days which I believe are signs that are confirming what the Lord has been saying to me. 

Twice this week I have read the same verse of scripture on two separate blogs. 'For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future   Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you' (Jeremiah ch. 29 vs. 11,12) and I keep having the number 18 brought to my attention, reminding me of Psalm 18.
  
I opened my Bible to read one morning and started to read about Thomas, where Jesus said 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.' (John ch. 29 v. 29).  Thomas had not been in the room previously when Jesus had breathed on the disciples and I think this fact emphasises the difference between human attempt at believing and Holy Spirit faith.

I saw a 'medical emergency' reality  program on the television in which a child, whose name was 'Destiny' had a fish bone removed from his throat. 

I also had someone ring on my house phone and ask 'Is that Thomas?'  I said 'No this is not Thomas' 

I am absolutely convinced that the Lord is telling me that His plans in this issue  are for my welfare, that He is my strength, that my destiny is physical healing here, and that if I believe without seeing then I will be blessed.