My eldest daughter loves to watch the Cecil B. DeMille classic 'The Ten Commandments' and yesterday was no exception. Whilst I was watching the Red Sea scenes with pharaoh full of rage, anger and seeking revenge, the Lord laid something on me that I was not expecting at all.
Recently I have been experiencing the grace and mercy of father G in a way in which I had never thought I would need to. As I live day by day, I find at times I make decisions in my personal daily journey that the previously religious Brother Don may not have done. The strange thing is that I seem to be more alive than I have ever previously been even when I do make mistakes; I used to live a very task driven life, a life that would not allow room for error and if there was an error, boy did I punish myself. Well following some great lows this year, I found myself in a place where all my past religious attitude and formulas couldn’t help me and it was just me before my Lord, broken, naked (not literally) and in despair.
For the first time I found myself living in the mercy and grace that I all so often used to tell people about, pray for God to give other the true understanding of and believe that God would provide – for others. Have you been there, around so much church, so many Christians, that you believe that if you pray every day, read the Bible everyday, that you some how know how to do this and that it’s therefore in your control to see off unforeseen situations, spiritual attack etc. Well, I do know a lot of scripture and speak with father G daily, but yet, like Job I find myself experiencing some foundational challenges that actually took me to a depth of depression that I would not like to see anyone go through.
For me unlike Job, some of my issues were created through my choices and reflecting upon those choices, I can see how some were detrimental to me. Some of the choices were of the nature and the type that as a Christian caused me to think that God would be angry and I would not be able to communicate with Him as He would be upset with me. Well Father G reminded me of two things, firstly:
1 John 1:8-9
New King James Version (NKJV)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Secondly, God asked me if I would stop talking to my young children if they made mistakes, I naturally said no and then He said what about if they did things I had specifically told them not to do, would I stop talking with them and again I said no and got the picture loud and clear.
Brother Don, how does this tie in with the film? Well whilst watching and thinking about how evil pharaoh was, the Lord reminded me that His grace and mercy is for all who choose to receive it. I then had my usual thought of, that was Old Testament, before Jesus; how could the likes of pharaoh or King Herod receive the grace and mercy? That is when God showed me just how much He loves us all and gives us all the chance to live in His love. He reminded me that when Jesus completed His work on the cross and gave up His Spirit, he went and preached to those who spirits were in prison:
1 Peter 3:19-20
Amplified Bible (AMP)
19 In which He went and preached to the spirits in prison,
20 [The souls of those] who long before in the days of Noah had been disobedient, when God’s patience waited during the building of the ark in which a few [people], actually eight in number, were saved through water.
Whilst for many of you this is a revelation that you have long since been aware of but for me it wasn’t and it was then that I began to wonder just who we may all be surprised to see in Heaven. I also believe that the just God that we love also visits people in those moments before death, the moments when no audience will hear a salvation prayer. After all God says the following in his word:
Amplified Bible (AMP)
5 But by your callous stubbornness and impenitence of heart you are storing up wrath and indignation for yourself on the day of wrath and indignation, when God’s righteous judgment (just doom) will be revealed.
6 For He will render to every man according to his works [justly, as his deeds deserve]:
7 To those who by patient persistence in well-doing [springing from piety] seek [unseen but sure] glory and honor and [the eternal blessedness of] immortality, He will give eternal life.
8 But for those who are self-seeking and self-willed and disobedient to the Truth but responsive to wickedness, there will be indignation and wrath.
9 [And] there will be tribulation and anguish and calamity and constraint for every soul of man who [habitually] does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile).
10 But glory and honor and [heart] peace shall be awarded to everyone who [habitually] does good, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile).
11 For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another].
12 All who have sinned without the Law will also perish without [regard to] the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged and condemned by the Law.
13 For it is not merely hearing the Law [read] that makes one righteous before God, but it is the doers of the Law who will be held guiltless and acquitted and justified.
14 When Gentiles who have not the [divine] Law do instinctively what the Law requires, they are a law to themselves, since they do not have the Law.
15 They show that the essential requirements of the Law are written in their hearts and are operating there, with which their consciences (sense of right and wrong) also bear witness; and their [moral] decisions (their arguments of reason, their condemning or approving thoughts) will accuse or perhaps defend and excuse [them]
16 On that day when, as my Gospel proclaims, God by Jesus Christ will judge men in regard to the things which they conceal (their hidden thoughts).
So whilst we find it easy to pray for Gods grace and mercy for others, lets also get used to living within it for ourselves and learn to enjoy our time here on earth while we challenge ourselves to be ‘Salt and Light, whilst being in the world but not of it’.
Bask in His mercy and grace my brothers and sister,
so that we may run our race as stress free as we can.
These songs are words about the doorway (death) and the journey beyond, I like the fact that in the song ‘O Death’ death says that he will open the gate to heaven or hell – The destination is not, cannot be determined by death itself.
Watch the short videos:
This next song ‘Angel Band’ I like, because it gives me that sense of someone who has ran their race and like Enoch and Elijah are calling the angels to take them home. I hope you also enjoy it…
Finally a thought - ‘To resist change is to resist living’
God bless you
The Lord be with you – ‘Immanuel, God with us’
Love Brother Don
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (New Living Translation)
‘but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.’