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Sunday, 28 April 2013

Just another pebble on the beach

Last Saturday, just after I awoke, something I had written long ago came into my mind.  It was an article I had put in a little booklet that I had entitled 'Days in my life', in which were accounts of occurrences in my life through which I have experienced the teachings of God, and some of the poetry that I have written as a result of those experiences. 

  The teacher that God has used,
   the One whom He uses with all
   who  believe on His Son Jesus
   Christ, is the Holy Spirit, and in
   a sense 'Days in my life' is yet
   another small portion of my own
   personal 'Book of Numbers',
   God speaking to me as I journey
   through my wilderness towards
   the promised land.
   After I had looked for, and found,
   the article in this booklet, I thought
   I would share it in a post

Just another pebble on the beach

I had been cleaning at the local college of further education for about six weeks.  The job required that I rose early in the morning to be in work for five, finishing at eight.  I had taken the job to earn extra money to buy a new computer, which I believed was much needed in order to produce the booklets, cards and laminated poetry wall hangings that I had started to make.  Two years earlier I had registered a small cottage industry which had never really got off the ground, and I thought the few hours work in the morning would provide me with the extra money needed, while also leaving me plenty of time to create the products, and the college was walking distance away from where we lived.   Everything seemed just right.

I had initially sought the Lord over whether I should try for the job or not, and had felt that He was saying 'no' through the scripture in Isaiah ch. 30 v.1 'Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help' being brought to my attention many times, 'Egypt' meaning the worldly way of doing things.  Part of me had felt that I should go and get the money for the equipment by looking for a job, at the same time realizing that I would have less time to spend on my writing, and part of me had been telling me to carry on doing what I was able to do with the equipment I already had, and that the Lord would provide the extra equipment at the time that He thought I needed it.   After some reasoning the 'go and get the money' part of me won and I took the job, not really wanting to believe that the Lord had actually spoken to me through the scriptures.

By now, after six weeks of working at the job, I had realized that the voice from the scriptures was by far the wisest.   I was so tired from rising at just after four in the morning that I found I was coming home, having a shower and sleeping for most of the morning, too worn out to do any of my writing. 

I had seen two things in the college that reminded me of the Lord and what He required of me.  One was a picture of 'The Light of the World' hanging on a wall, and the other was a sculpture called 'Rebirth by Fire'.  I believed I was being called as a witness for Jesus, through my writing, to be a light in this dark world and to tell of rebirth and salvation through Jesus Christ.  It was not about running a business.

There was also a photograph of pebbles on a beach.  One of the pebbles had an image of a very sad, sleeping face on it.  This photograph moved my heart in a strange way.  I imagined the face on the pebble was dreaming of what might have been, but that the tide would soon come in and wash away those dreams and it would remain 'just another pebble on the beach', never being able to get out from its rut.  I saw myself never being able to fulfil my purpose as a believer if I carried on trying to do things my own way.

The word 'procrastination' had also been brought to my attention several times and it caused me to think that procrastination and time, just like the tide in the pebble's situation, would wash away my dreams if I allowed them to.  I had become a hindrance to what God was trying to do through me and trying to get things done faster by my own methods was actually slowing things down.  My times are in God's hands and every day of my life is written in His book before even one of them was formed, and I am gradually coming to realize that what He requires me to do has to be done in His time, not mine.

I realized two things here, that to simply obey what the Lord is telling me to do without question was by far the wisest thing to do, but I also learned that God knows the way we  will take and that He is patient and long-suffering with us as He allows us to learn by our mistakes, thereby delivering us in our affliction.  Job ch.36 v.15.

Realizing my mistake I sought the Lord for advice, this time with the full intention of acting on it  That morning the reading in my 'Daily Bread' Christian booklet was from Exodus ch.18 vs.17,18 'This thing that you are doing is not good.  You will surely wear out'.  How appropriate!  I read from my Bible in the book of Ecclesiastes ch.4 v.13 'Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who will no more be admonished.'  (That was me well and truly told.), and from the book of Ecclesiastes ch.5 v.13 'There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun, riches were kept by their owner to his hurt'.  These scriptures spoke straight into my situation.  I was definitely worn out, and was foolish for not taking the advice not to go after the job in the first place.  I was also being warned about keeping the spiritual riches, which I believed God wanted me to share through my writings, to myself.

The next day I bought some spaghetti that I noticed was called 'Seeds of change'.  That night I had a dream in which I was handing in my notice at work, and the following morning the daily reading in my devotional booklet was entitled 'Changed priorities', and the scripture was 'They immediately left their nets and followed Him.'  The message was loud and clear, I had to leave my own work and follow Jesus, thereby getting my priorities right.

Without hesitation I gave my notice in the next day.  Amazingly, the reading in another daily devotional that I received that very morning was 'He will perfect that which concerns me' and the next sentence said 'Don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow, God will help you deal with whatever things come up'.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

My journey through the wilderness Part 3

This is the final section of part of my early testimony, shortly after being born again into Christ.  

As I studied the Bible daily I could see that I could be one of two types of believers.  This fact was highlighted to me by the story related in Luke ch.18 vs.10 - 14, which reads:-  'Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee and the other a publican.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I posses.'  And the publican, standing afar off would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying 'God be merciful to me a sinner.'  There was arrogance and pride in the Pharisee's prayer, but lowliness and humility in the prayer of the publican.  We are told that the publican went down to his house justified rather than the Pharisee.

This parable was spoken to some who trusted in their own righteousness and looked down on others.  I knew that I had no righteousness of my own and could only come before Jesus with the attitude of the publican.  I wrote these prayers to Him, and I believe He spoke back to me,  in the form of  songs.

Lord have mercy

Lord have mercy take pity on a poor man like me
I'm unworthy can't you see not holy like the Pharisee
have mercy on a sinner such as me

Some people say 'What good are you
you don't worship God as we'
but humility and honesty 
are what You're looking for in me

So Lord have mercy take pity on a poor man like me
I'm unworthy can't you see not holy like the Pharisee
have mercy on a sinner such as me

I want to dedicate my life to you
I want no fame nor wealth
I want to serve You with a heart that's true
but I can't do it by myself

So Lord have mercy take pity on a poor man like me
I'm unworthy can't You see not holy like the Pharisee
have mercy on a sinner such as me

Lost in the world

Lost in the world
I was entangled in sin and shame
Lord that was when I met You
Then from my grave I heard You calling
calling my name
with a voice that was gentle but true

'Turn around my child and look at me'

were the words that were piercing my heart
'Turn around from your sin - be set free
come to me and make a new start'

Then water so pure 
and crystal clear
was washing away
all my doubt and my fear
and the tears ran free 
as You said to me
'Weep no more child 
I have bought your peace
I have suffered in your place
all the blows the world has dealt you
I have taken on my face
Turn around turn around
and I will forgive
turn around turn around
turn around child and live

For I take no pleasure 

in the death of a soul
turn around seek my face child
and I'll make you whole

Strive no more child, I can bring release
I regained what you had lost
righteousness was purchased for you
when they nailed me to that cross
Turn around turn around
and I will forgive
turn around turn around
turn around child and live
For I take no pleasure in the death of a soul
turn around, seek my face child
and I'll make you whole

Sin no more child - turn and look at me
see that I have paid the price
so that You could have salvation
I became the sacrifice
Turn around turn around
and I will forgive
turn around turn around 
turn around child and live
For I take no pleasure in the death of a soul
turn around seek my face child 
and I'll make you whole

No I take no pleasure in the death of a soul
turn around seek my face child
and I'll make you whole

If we trust in Jesus He will lead us to that promised land.  There is no other way to be reconciled back to God.   1 Timothy ch.2 v.5 says:- 
There is One God and there is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all.'

My final song I dedicate to that One God and His mediator:-

God sent His Son to us

God sent His Son to us 
ever to rule over us
Jesus came to teach us God's ways
here to take away the lies 
shining in life's darkened skies
evermore to brighten our days
He sent His Son to die
crucified for you and I
full of pain He hung on that tree
'though He was in agony
with words of love He begged for me
a pardon for my sins and set me free

Jesus walked upon the Earth
to buy for us our second birth
that we might see the Father some day
taking all the ridicule
from holy man and Godless fool
for you and me He always would pray
'Father look not on their sin
but change their stony heart within
I offer You Myself in their stead
Lay those painful stripes on Me
Oh Father set their spirits free
and place that thorny crown upon my head.'

He gave His life so willingly
that I might live eternally

And now I want that I should be
just like the One who died for me
Jesus Lord I call on Your name
Mold me shape me by Your will
tell my troubled soul 'Be still'
take away my sin and my shame
Jesus walk upon those waves
reach out to me the hand that saves
I'm sinking fast and don't know what to do
Lift me from this troubled sea
Oh Father change me destiny
and set me on the road back home to You

Lift me from this troubled sea
Oh Father change me destiny
and set me on the road back home to You

The whole of this three part testimony was written shortly after becoming born again and  being  baptised in the Holy Spirit.   In the letter that the apostle Paul wrote to Philemon he writes in verse 6 'and I pray that the sharing of your faith may promote the knowledge of all the good that is ours in Christ.', and this is what I believe sharing our testimonies does.  

There is a beautiful Welsh word 'dysgu', pronounced 'dusgee' The reason I say it is beautiful is because it means both to learn and to teach, and describes perfectly 2 Corinthians ch.1 vs.3 and 4, which says that we are comforted by God in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 

There is learning and teaching in our trials but both are brought about by the Holy Spirit, and all credit goes to God.