Saturday, 14 December 2013

Second nature

The tree had appeared to be dying and was almost completely brown on one side.  It was a conifer, originally bright green in colour, which I had planted in front of the window not long after we had moved into our last house and I liked it very much.    'Cut it down' my husband had said when it first began to turn brown late in Summer 2004, but I had not wanted to and had left it alone over the Winter months. 



Now it was February 2005 and I noticed tiny green shoots sprouting from both trunk and dry brown branches and I was overjoyed, not only because the tree was not going to die, but because I was being taught something by the Lord through the tree just when I desperately needed it.



Sometimes it can be extremely hard to focus on the Spiritual when the carnal mind will constantly focus on the flesh, and many times we will look negatively on ourselves and one another because of this, dwelling more on the old sinful nature instead of the new creation which is forming within us.


Eagerness to learn comes as 'second nature' to me but God has a principle when teaching us and it is 'line upon line, precept on precept'.  'It would be like throwing the whole of the Oxford dictionary at you at once' said my digital imaging course tutor when I had wanted to know something that I was not ready to learn.

There had been many areas in my life, and still are, where I felt I had failed in my Christian walk and most of the self condemnation had grown out of dwelling on what needed to be changed instead of what the Lord had already done in me.  I had not actually realized this until the incident with the tree brought it to my attention.

I was being reminded not to fix my gaze on the old me and my human capabilities, but to look at the new spiritual creature that God was creating through Jesus and all the benefits that came with being a child of God.  As far as God was concerned, that old creature was dead.  Verse 16 of 2 Corinthians ch.5 tells us not to regard anyone from a human point of view, and verse 13 of Colossians ch.2 tells us that though we were once dead in trespasses, we have been made alive with Christ.  Human mind and eyes will limit what is possible both in personal salvation and prayer by focusing on the old creation instead of the new.  

As a new creation in Christ Jesus all things are possible to him who believes. Mark ch.9 v.23  Just as it says in Genesis chapter 25 v.5 'Abraham left everything he owned to his son Isaac', in Jesus I inherit all things given to Him by God.  My part is to put on my new nature by allowing God to renew my mind in His Son Jesus so that I have the mind of Christ.


Colossians ch. 3 describes both natures as follows:-

Old nature
Fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness which is idolatry, anger, wrath, malice, slander and foul talk.   

New nature
Compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and patience, forbearing one another and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive.  And above all these put on love.  

We are encouraged in Ephesians ch.4 v.22 - 24 to 'Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the Spirit of your minds, and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.'

Just as with my tree the new green shoots were gradually replacing the old dead wood, so too am I gradually being conformed to the image of my creator.

The following is a poem that I wrote at that time, reflecting my self condemnation and the Lord's encouragement to me to concentrate on my 'second nature' rather than my first.  


Look and see


All that look - that look on me
see only here a dying tree
In brittle branch and withered wood
they find no beauty - see no good
perceiving just what would have been
if You had not come on my scene

But shoots of green they do not see

new budding leaves that struggle free
from lifeless form that once was me
For carnal mind and human eyes
both dwell and gaze on all that dies
and in this chrysalis of tree
will fail to see eternity

Oh all that look - look again at me

look now through eyes of faith and see
the hand of Jesus Christ - God's Son
gaze on the work that's being done
See miracle of power to save
a soul once destined for the grave

This Saviour whom my heart does love

has come from God on wings of dove
to change my destiny of strife
and bring to me eternal life
So look again upon this tree
see everywhere new greenery
Don't look upon the dying wood
See my Saviour's beauty - see my Saviour's good

'Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.'  2 Corinthians ch.4 v.16'

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Lukewarm

A few days ago I was looking through some papers of mine and I came across an article I had written of an experience I had quite a few years back.  It was entitled 'Lukewarm'.  Many of my writings were written on an older computer with some packages that will not work on the Windows I have on my new computer, and I could not find this testimony in my files.  I noticed that there were lots of other writings and testimonies that were missing also so I investigated a little and found  many of them on a memory stick that could be used on my new computer.  I thought maybe I would share some of them on my blog. Today I thought I would put 'Lukewarm' on. 



Lukewarm

(Written in November 2004 - an edited version)
On Tuesday, when I was looking on some old floppy disks for photographs I came across a file entitled 'Judgement begins with the house of God', something I had written some time back, so I printed it out and read it.



Wednesday evening on my digital imaging course I was given some homework by my tutor.  It was to take photographs on the theme 'Shadow and substance'.
Just before I made the bed on Thursday morning I noticed the shadows falling across the crumpled sheets and pillow cases. 

The saying  'You make your bed and lie on it' came into my mind and I thought 'What a perfect title and photograph for a project, either as a fact or a suggestion, I could do something with this'.  The sheets were covered in roses and I thought 'We can either make life a bed of roses or something else'. So I took two photographs, one with the sheets crumpled and one with the bed made.(not very well I have to admit)


                                                                 
Then I remembered that within the piece 'Judgement begins with the house of God' there was a poem I had written, called 'Lukewarm' ,which contained a line or two referring to a bed. 






 I thought maybe this was not coincidence, that the Lord may be showing me something here.


Lukewarmness is spoken of in one of the seven churches in the book of Revelations, in the Laodicean church. All the churches except one were tolerating something that is ungodly within its bounds, the difference with the Philadelphian church being shown in Ch. 3 v.8 'For you have a little strength and have kept my Word and have not denied my name'. 'Philadelphia' means 'brotherly love'.  The Laodiceans were a group of people who claimed to be followers of Christ but who relied on their wealth and worldly goods rather than Jesus Christ's teachings, and people's principles rather than God's.  'Laodicea' means 'people's opinions'.  

Just as in Isaiah's day the Lord's judgement had come upon His people because of their unfaithfulness, 'for Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord, defying His glorious presence.' Isaiah ch. 3 v. 8 so too it acts as a warning to us today.  Isaiah ch. 4 v.1 says 'In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say 'We will eat our own bread, and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name, take away our reproach.'   As His word is the same yesterday, today and forever, is this a spiritual message to God's Spiritual Israel (His church) today not to bear the name of Jesus Christ and at the same time eat their own food (a doctrine other than that of the doctrine of Christ),and wear their own clothes, the clothes of a spiritual prostitute, Isaiah ch. 3 vs. 18-23  instead of their robes of righteousness.  

Verse 2 of 1 Peter ch. 1 says that it is for obedience to Jesus Christ that we are chosen and destined by God and sanctified by the Spirit.  We are not exempt from God's judgement because we wear the name of Christ.  Judgement begins at the house of God as spoken of in 1 Peter ch.4  v.17, and here 'the house of God' refers to Christians, verse 18 saying that the righteous man is scarcely saved.  

In 2 Peter ch.2 vs.1 and 2  Peter foretells that there will be false teachers in the church just as there were false prophets also among the people of Israel.  'But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.  They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them - bringing swift destruction on themselves.  Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.' 

We can see this happening today with strange doctrines popping up in different places that are not in line with God's word.  It has become fashionable to please man rather than to please God.  We have to be very careful who we regard as 'rulers' in the church and test what they teach as doctrine against the word of God, taking heed that they are not preaching another Jesus, for there are many 'knock on' effects.  Proverbs 29 v.12 says  'If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked.'  

Lukewarm

Some people say 'Don't speak about your King 
don't speak about this Jesus to me
don't tell me I must follow Him down the road to Calvary'
They say 'We'll just be called by His holy name but leave us to eat our own bread
and we'll wear our own apparel' then they labour to make their own bed
but the covering on it is narrow and the bed itself is too short
both getting smaller and smaller as they're judged by each ungodly thought
They're building mighty castles Lord they don't have Your foundation
building castles for themselves strongholds big and wide
With hewn out stones and polished beams they've built their own creation
and now they put their images inside
Everyone right in their own eyes abiding in vanity
spinning ever faster Lord towards total insanity
Not hearing the voice of the Master but listening to a lie
outside they appear to be living yet inside they slowly die
They're seeking to worldly 'physicians' to bring about their release
looking to man for deliverance yet never finding peace
Not willing to take Your chastening 'Too grievous for me' they say
forgetting that at the end of each night is always the light of day
And all the time Lord You are trying to take away their shame
visiting each one in turn calling out each name
saying 'Return unto me child seek the face of your Lord above
For it is he who keeps my commandments that shall abide in my love.


Back to the present time.
                                                                  




Although my digital imaging course homework all those years ago prompted me to write the article 'Lukewarm', the photograph I took into my class on the subject 'shadow and substance' was one called 'Light revealing all that I do', which also spoke to me spiritually.






Two things happened this morning which made me feel that God wanted me to share this post.  

As I lay in bed I was thinking about the fact that I would put the section on false teachers and those who rule in the post, my husband said (and I noticed he was looking at the red sky through the window)  'Red sky in the morning - shepherds warning.'   I realized straight away that it went together with God warning those who are shepherds over His people who may not be building on His foundation, Jesus Christ.

Later on in the morning my husband pointed up into the sky from the lounge window at a Red Kite bird of prey, and said 'Look at how they ride on the wind.'  It made me think of how the Lord wants His church to be sustained by, and rely upon, the teachings of His Holy Spirit, as were those in the Philadelphia church doing two thousand years ago, not upon their worldly wealth and man's doctrines.