Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Communication with God

This is a post that I put on my blog two years ago, and I just felt that I would like to share it again as my blog was very new then and some of you may not have read my testimony on this issue.



My friend and I felt that we had been neglecting our evangelism in the streets.  We have put poetry together with scripture in the form of leaflets to hand out to people and sometimes I take my guitar and we sing songs that we believe the Lord has brought us to write.  We decided that we would go on the Friday of that week into the town centre, and also take the guitar.  By the time Thursday had arrived I was feeling apprehensive about taking the guitar out with us and singing, partly because I was just getting over a cold, and partly because I hadn't sung in the street for a while.  So I prayed to the Lord and asked Him to show me whether I should take the guitar with me or not.  I was quite happy just to give out the leaflets.
That night I had a dream that I was given a sheet of paper.  At first glance the piece of paper appeared to be blank.  Then, as I tilted it, the light seemed to catch it and reveal a hidden message, almost as if there was another layer, beneath the top blank sheet, that could only be revealed when the light caught it a certain way.  I could barely make out what it said, but the harder I looked the clearer the message became.  It was simply the number 147.
The next morning I forgot all about having the dream, until I was seeking th Lord again about whether I should take my guitar out and sing that afternoon.  I had my Bible in front of me and suddenly the dream returned to my mind.  I felt led to read Psalm 147.  The first line said to sing praises, for a song of praise is seemly.  Verse seven also spoke about singing with a musical instrument.  Verse eleven says that the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him.  I decided that I was being told by the Lord to take the guitar and sing.  When I reached my friends house, she said she had also been reading Psalm 147 and believed we were were to sing as well as handing out the leaflets.  This we did and had a very good response from people on the street.
 
The next day I was working on my computer with an image manipulation package in which I can work with layers, a facility which gives me the ability to use several layers to build up a picture.  It enables me to totally block out a layer beneath the active layer without losing the information on that lower layer, it is simply obscured from my view.  What I see on my computer screen depends on which layer I choose to place on top as the active layer.  That same morning the postman had brought a letter from my bank which told me that there was a new way of getting help other than from the help desk at my branch.  There was a phone number to ring and if I peeled back a slip on a blank sheet of paper that was in the envelope, my code number, which I must use when I call, would be revealed.  As I peeled back the slip of paper my mind was cast back to my dream, and I realized that God was showing me something.
The blank sheet in my dream represented my carnal mind which was not really knowing what to do concerning the singing.  The other layer which appeared when the sheet of paper was tilted in the light was the enlightened word of the Holy Spirit directing me to the rhema word of God spoken to me in Psalm 147.
This incident showed me the importance of seeking God's will not only for direction as to what the Lord has called me to do, but also for seeking His word for guidance as to how my way of thinking must change according to His word spoken to me.  As with the layers facility on my computer program, the carnal mind has the ability to blank out the spiritual mind of Christ if I do not stay in communication with the Lord.  Just like the layers facility on my computer, what I see depends on which mind I keep active.  Also, the personal code number that I must use to get help from my bank represented the enlightened word of God being revealed to me, in my own life and ministry, through prayer.


 
After I finished writing this article I picked up one of my Christian daily devotional booklets to see what the day's reading was and this is what it said.  'God revealed Himself to Samuel through His word.'

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Achan (troubler)


A Christian lady confesses openly in front of a group of ladies that I am with at a house meeting that she and her Christian husband are hiding a large sum of money in their house.  It is money that belongs to a relative who is on benefits but does not want to declare it because some of the benefit will be stopped because of it.  I think to myself, as the person is speaking, 'This situation reminds me of someone in the Old Testament who hides something in his tent', but I can not think of the character's name.  Suddenly, the name of a person from the Old Testament comes on the screen of a television that is showing a Christian video in the room, it is the name 'Achan', but I can not think who he is, and because the lady has been relating what she has been doing with this money, we have not been concentrating on the video.  The person who confesses to hiding the sum of money leaves and my friend and I  start to discuss whether we should have spoken to the person about the fact that in the Lord's eyes it could be wrong, but the lady who organized the group remarks that we should not accuse one another.  I replied that I did not feel like it was accusation because the lady herself had admitted to all in the room what she and her husband were doing.

I wake up in the early hours of the next morning and suddenly realize that the name that came on the screen, 'Achan', is the name of the character in the Old Testament that I was reminded of when the lady was telling us about hiding the money.  I go downstairs and look in the Bible and see that Achan was hiding things devoted for destruction.  I think to myself that with a believer the things 'devoted for destruction' are our old ways and wonder if the Lord is trying to reveal something through this situation.
 
I go to church on the following Sunday and am walking down the steps where two children ask my friend and myself if we have seen their friend, Arian.  They say they are playing a game of hiding.  'What! you are hiding out here in full view of everyone?' I ask.  'No, Arian is hiding from us' the children say.  'There she is' they say, as she appears at the side of the church.  I feel that the conversation is reminding me of something.  My friend says 'Arian is the Welsh word for money', and I see a strange connection with the children's game, the story of Achan, and the Christian lady's open confession to hiding money in order to help someone cheat the benefit system.   Yet again I wonder if the Lord is trying to reveal something, and is it that we can not hide what we do from Him?  Also, if what we do is knowingly wrong to us, is there a penalty paid?  Because Achan had put things devoted to destruction amongst his own things, he too had become a thing devoted for destruction.



We are told in Hebrews ch. 10 vs. 24 - 27  'And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.'  Where then is our responsibility when someone professing to be Christian confesses openly to other Christians to doing something that is wrong, without being accused by anyone?  What is the implication and responsibility of a person experiencing what I experienced over several days?  Should I have spoken up about the way I felt as the series of events were happening, or gone back to the person involved privately later on?  Is it for me, as part of the body of Christ, to share that experience at an appropriate time, and can that experience be counted as prophesy?  Ezekiel ch. 33 v. 8 warns that it is a responsibility to warn one another from wicked ways when it is revealed, or we will have that person's blood on our hands.


Proverbs ch.29 v. 18 says that where there is no prophesy the people cast off restraint.  If we do not share what we believe the Lord is revealing to us in order to build one another up in the faith, then are we guilty of quenching the Holy Spirit's work amongst us, and having that person's blood on our hands, according to that rule of prophesy in Ezekiel ch. 33?  Was it coincidence on the Sunday morning, when the sin of Achan was again brought to my mind through the hiding game of the children, that the pastor was speaking on Ephesians ch. 4 and ch. 6, which speak of the unity of the Spirit and exhortations to righteous livingEphesians ch.4 vs.17-19 says  ' So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.  Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.'

Shortly after this incident my husband related to me a story he had heard on the radio of Nazadene, a Muller turned smuggler, who repeatedly took a donkey laden with hay across the border and a border guard who could not detect what Nazradene was smuggling, which turned out to be donkeys.  Sin, just like those donkeys, can become acceptable to us as the norm, thereby becoming unrecognisable to us in our daily lives.  Likewise, sin can become unrecognisable to us, thereby becoming acceptable to us as the norm.

Achan's sin also caused the whole of Israel to be unable to stand against their enemies.  If we do not encourage one another to do what is right, for we can all be tempted to do what is wrong as was implied by Paul when he wrote to the church of the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians ch.3 v.5 saying  'For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labour would be in vain', (and all scripture can be profitable for encouragement and correction. 2 Timothy ch.3 v.16 ), will not the church be allowed to become contaminated by the things of the world?

To be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, Ephesians ch.6 v.11 tells us to put on the whole armour of God.  We are told in Ephesians ch. 4 vs.22-24  ' You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.'  There are two beautiful verses of scripture in Psalm 81 vs.13 and 14 to encourage us in this area, where God is saying 'O that my people would listen to me , that Israel would walk in my ways!  I would soon turn my hand against their foes.'

The Lord is the living word of God by which we are judged, and just like any other judge, that word has the authority to examine and, if necessary, pass sentence. 1 Corinthians ch.11 vs.29-32 states   'For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.  That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.  Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.'  We must allow that word to be an active cleanser in our lives to be able to change us gradually.  We have a loving, longsuffering, forgiving God who understands our weakness in the flesh, but He is also a consuming fire.  He has sent the Holy Spirit as our teacher to lead us into all truth, and should we not do our best to act on that truth?  In 2 Chronicles, ch.2 vs.13 and 14, the Lord is telling Solomon that when there are troubles come upon His people, if His people will humble themselves and pray and seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, then He will gear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  There is a repentance in these instructions, a turning from our wicked ways, which is also a requirement for believers insomuch as we are asked to 'repent', and to be 'doers of the word and not just hearers'.

One day my husband connected the battery to his motorbike to try to get it to start, but there was no spark.  Without a spark, the engine would not start and the bike was lifeless.  Without the Holy Spirit actively being allowed to change us through our obedience to its teaching, we as individuals and as a church will be spiritually lifeless because we shall be still carnal, thereby being dead in our sins.

I believe the whole of what I experienced on this occasion was not to point out what was going on in one person's life at all, for we are all prone to temptation, and sometimes we are not even sure what is right or wrong in God's eyes, but I believe it is a message to all of us to be alert to the teachings of the Holy Spirit, and to allow Him to work through all the members of the body in order to change us collectively into the image of God's Son.  God is building His church, and unless the Lord build the house, those who build it labour in vain.  (Psalm 127 v.1)   Colossians ch.2 v.8 tells us to 'beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ.'  We must allow God to  build according to the format that He has laid out in the scriptures, and not attempt to alter it.

 
On my bedside cabinet there is a small wooden giraffe.  I accidentally knocked it over one day and its head fell off.  My husband repaired it.  I can not tell you how many repair jobs my husband has done on ornaments around the house, and this is exactly what salvation is
 - a repair job.
 


 

 

 

 
While all of this was happening, it was the time of the fortieth anniversary of the Aberfan disaster, when 116 children were killed while in their school by a man built mountain of coal slurry.  God forbid that His spiritual children should be 'killed' by a man-made mountain of worldly doctrine and church tradition that could be making the word of God void in the church.

I end this post with a short poem of encouragement

The Path
Follow the path of righteousness
the road to the Father's heart
Follow His Son as He leads you on
from His ways do not depart
Follow the path that leads to life
the way that we all must take
Yes, follow the ways of Jesus
the Saviour who died for our sake