Thursday, 30 January 2014

Reflections on a puzzle

One Sunday, as I was walking home from church, I came across a lot of jigsaw pieces scattered on the pavement.  It had been raining and they were wet.  The pastor at the church had been speaking about disunity amongst God's people, and while I was walking through the town I was reflecting on this and wondering why it was so.  These jigsaw pieces, separated one from another and scattered all over the ground, seemed to be echoing what the pastor had been saying, and I felt the Lord was trying to tell me something.  I gathered all the pieces up and placed them in my bag. 
 
When I arrived home I proceeded to piece them together to see what the picture might be, but each piece began to separate into two parts because the rain had neutralized the glue that was sticking the picture to the backing card.  I started to have understanding of what the Lord was trying to reveal to me.

If I pieced the backing card together I
would have no picture















If I pieced some of the backing card together
with some of the picture pieces they would
join together because they were the same
shapes but I would only have part of the
picture. 















If, on the other hand, I pieced all the upper
pieces together, I would have the whole
picture.

                         
















I could see a parallel in these jigsaw pieces with God's people.  The blank backing card represented the old creation of the flesh which was dead in sins, while the top layer with the picture on represented the new creation in Christ, all the pieces together forming the body of Christ on Earth.  Old and new mixed together could only bring disunity, a partial picture of the whole body.

We can be carnal or we can be spiritual.  Those who live according to the  carnal mind can never have unity with those who walk according to the Spirit because  'the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.' Romans ch. 8 v.7, and the things of God are foolishness to it, having to be discerned spiritually.

The element that had separated the two parts of the jigsaw pieces was water, and only the spiritual water that comes down from Heaven, the word of God, can separate the old man from the new creation which God is forming in us through Christ Jesus, as confirmed in Ephesians ch. 5 vs. 25b - 27, ' just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her   to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. '  As each of us allows the Holy Spirit to work in us we will grow up into the united body of Christ.  The first book of Corinthians ch. 15 v.22 says that 'as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.' 

God had shown me through the pastor's words that there was disunity in the church, but it was only through the jigsaw pieces and the revelation to me through them could I have understanding of why there was disunity.  This incident taught me how vital it is to be alert to the ways in which God is able to reveal something to us, and how it is for our benefit that we act on that revelation so that we might be changed into our Saviour's image to be able to soar with Him in the Spirit. 

The enemy has many ways of trying to tempt us to forsake the Lord's ways and return to our old carnal ways, but we must resist Him and carry on down the road to eternal life with our Saviour, even if we suffer rejection and taunting from others.

The following is a poem that I have put in an earlier post, which I wrote at the time of this revelation to me.

New man for old

Lord when I’m being taunted and mocked for loving You
Cause me to remember that You were taunted too
When I’m being laughed at for calling on Your name
Let me see You standing there and taking all that shame
And if I’m being tempted to draw back into sin
Tell me ‘Turn away child, don’t let the devil win’

Lord sometimes it’s difficult to die to sinful man
When the Spirit says ‘You can’t’ and the flesh says ‘Yes you can’
I’m so afraid I’ll fail You, the old man can be strong
Sometimes it’s hard to tell Lord what’s right and what is wrong
The old man says ‘Retaliate!’ To every harsh word said
The new says ‘You’ve been born again, the old man is now dead’

So Lord teach me to listen, when I hear You speak
Create in me a spirit that is lowly and meek
Take away the old man of anger, greed and lust
Form a new creation inside this outer crust
Help me to forgive them , when the world abuses me
Teach me how to show Your love, that I know can set them free

Lord help me go all the way to that rugged cross
Show me that to lose this life is gain and not a loss
And then just like the chrysalis that hangs upon it’s thread
I’ll become a butterfly - and You’ll have raised the dead
 

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The River of Life

One day last week I was looking at something I wrote some time ago called 'The river of life' and thought that I might share it in a post on my blog.   I had put it in a little booklet that I had put together called 'And by the word of their testimony' which contains testimonies of experiences I have had over the years after coming to know the Lord.  Then, the following morning, I was reading chapter twenty five of the book of Job.   I have felt led to read a chapter of the book of Job each day because I feel that I have been in a 'Job' situation, having the enemy inflict more sickness and pain on me since I believe the Lord has told me that He will heal me from something I have had for over twenty five years.

As I came to verse 6 of Job twenty five I noticed that it read 'how much less man, who is a maggot, and the son of man, who is a worm!'.  The version of the Bible that I have is The New Oxford Annotated Bible.
I thought 'How strange, the article that I thought to put up as a post on my blog contains an incident concerning maggots and worms.'  So it has prompted me to share that article.



The River of Life
Jesus said 'If anyone thirst let him come to me and drink.  He who believes in me, as the scripture has said 'Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'  We are told that He spoke this of the Spirit, which those who believed in Him were to receive after He was glorified.  We are also told in Ezekiel ch..47 that the river that flows from the temple brings life to every living thing where it goes and that there will be many fish in the waters that shall live because of it.  This indicates that the river of life is both in us and we in it.



I was on a photography course, and one of the women there had on a pink fleecy top with a zip up the front.  There was a tag on the zip shaped like a fish, it reminded me of the symbol that many people wear to identify themselves as Christian, and my first thought was 'Oh, I wonder if she is a  Christian?'  Then I noticed that the image was not really a fish but was actually the skeleton of a fish.  

When we went to lunch this lady bought some chocolate which, when she opened it, was found to have maggots in it.  When we returned to our lesson room, she told us of two fish she had bought which, when cut open, had tiny worms in them.  At the time we were also discussing Christianity and when I pointed out that it was strange that she had on her top a fish skeleton and she was experiencing finding worms and maggots in fish and chocolate, she said 'Maybe that's where I am going, down where the worms will get me.'



This incident made me think of how, as a Christian, I must be careful what I 'eat'.   I thought about how I could be robbed of spiritual growth, represented by the fish skeleton on the zip. The chocolate with the maggots in maybe representing allowing myself to just carry on 'eating' the goodies of this world, and what my carnal mind desires, and the two fish with the worms in them representing worldly doctrines within the Christian church (the fish being a symbol of Christianity).

However, it was not until I read the 6th verse from Job ch.25, relating man to maggots and worms that I could fully understand what the Lord was trying to show me through this incident, that I could wear the name of 'Christian', but still be 'carnal' depending on what I choose to feed upon.

When Daniel was taken to Babylon he refused to defile himself with the rich food and wine offered to him,  it was not permitted for the Jew to eat other than their own diet.  The word Babylon in the Hebrew language includes the word that means confusion, so Babylon in spiritual understanding can represent a place of confusion.  Babylon was particularly noted for being a place of pride and idolatry.   The church, as God's Israel, has its own spiritual diet in the form of God's word, and just as Daniel shone with physical health as a result of not eating what the Babylonian king offered, so too the church will shine in spiritual health as a result of eating Gods word revealed to us through Jesus, and not through doctrines fashioned to please the carnal mind.


If we try to be doers of the word spoken to us as individuals in Christ, then we can be likened spiritually to those fish that live in the sea where the river of life has gone.  They eat, drink and breathe the substance of that water in order to continue living.




Shortly after being on my photography course I was at a writers' meeting that I attended monthly, and I felt very strongly that I was to leave early to watch a television program on 'Time'.  One thing stood out to me in it.  Scientists have discovered, through research into the genes in our bodies, that there is no program for death in us.  There is a program in us for life and for maturity, but no program for death.  Right from creation we were meant to have eternal life with our creator.  It was only Adam's sin that induced a God given curse, which was fulfilled outside of the unique garden of blessing in which he had been placed after being formed from the dust of the ground.



The following is the poem that I wrote at the time.


River of Life

Oh river of life restore to me
the glory that was meant to be

Flow through this doubting, troubled heart
refreshing each and every part
that fails to recognize the name
of Holy Lamb that once was slain
for all I do to cause Him pain

Wash every evil carnal thought
with grace and love that Jesus bought

In waters of eternity
cause spirit lost to struggle free
to cast aside the filth and shame
that clings so tight to mortal frame
once more to wear the Father's name

Oh river of life restore to me
the glory that was meant to be


We are told that once he had sinned and felt convicted, Adam found himself 'naked'.    I believe this 'nakedness' also stands for the loss of eternal life and the being clothed with mortality.  In 2 Corinthians ch.5 v.4 we are told by Paul that 'we wait not to be unclothed, but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.'  For two thousand years, because of our Lords wonderful sacrifice, the river of life in the form of the Holy Spirit has been flowing from the temple, enabling us to be no longer under that curse, and to be reconciled back to God.  If we swim in those waters of life, eating and drinking only what is provided in those waters, we shall truly live as we were meant to.