Blessed  Encounters

That point to a REVIVAL and  THE DAY OF THE LORD

 

 

“Be still before the Lord, all mankind,

because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.   Zech 2:13

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         Eternal Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Draft)

 

Seeking the Word

 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29: 13

                                                     

This page has come about in consequence of blessed encounters that began in 2016.

 

A trend of decline had become apparent.  It had been my church for 42 years.  In less than a decade, its congregation that had once filled it, was now significantly diminished and its average age now significantly higher.    Many an exploratory visitor that had come to worship there had left after one, two or three services.  They had been made welcome, but not long enough to be caught up in the fellowship.  They were looking for something that they couldn’t find there.  As for myself, an awakening sinner - though I often found the sermon interesting or entertaining, at its conclusion I would be wondering “What was that about?”   

 

An event arose that year, which led to my perceiving a significant disparity between what was called for in scripture, as opposed to what was being preached and experienced in the life of that church.[1]  This led to a number of interesting and challenging situations there that often involved ‘blessed” encounters in response to earnest prayer. 

 

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you

                                        to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”     1 Pet 4: 12.

 

One especially notable blessing for me was the awareness of the importance of God’s word as expressed in scripture.[2]  This awareness led to my wife and I discovering a church where the scripture is taken seriously, and preaching is in accord with that.  So we began to attend there in November 2016.  It was a course of action that led to experiencing the three very significant blessed encounters described below.

 

 

     Wall of Fire   -   Sunday 2 April 2017 -  9.30 Service

 

Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord,

“and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces”?   Jer 23:29

 

By Sunday 2 April 2017 we had been happily worshipping for some five months, in that church where the living God through Christ is glorified and the Word is preached.   In support of the preaching of the Word, my wife and I made a point of attending our former church on that Sunday. This was because we knew that lay preacher Ian R was to preach that day.  

 

The first blessing occurred during the ‘Prayers of the People’ given by a member of the congregation:  

 

As I closed my eyes and bowed my head, I was made aware that in the top half of the vision of my mind’s eye:  a short thin lateral line of flame extending rapidly from a small flicker of light.  It was burning from high on the left side of a black background of Australian bushland countryside[3] at night.  The horizon was far into the distance.   Raising my head and opening my eyes, I found that this image was translucent. That is, it became an overlay on what I could see when I made a point of looking to the front of the church.

 

A shorter thin line of fire appeared diagonally across the lateral line of fire, near its left end. This formed a fiery cross (crucifix shaped) that lay at a thirty degree perspective to my vision. 

 

The lateral line of fire then continued to extend, and a succession of short lines of fire appeared across it so as to create a chain of crosses. As it traversed the width of my scope of vision, just below it, another lateral chain of fiery crosses commenced its rapid pace to the right side of my vision. It accelerated as it did so. Then in quick succession, other chains of thin fiery crosses followed suit.  Each one, below the one before it -The pace of movement continuously accelerating.

 

About halfway to the bottom edge of this dark bushland vision, chains of fire crosses then extended from each of the short crossing lines of fire, both up and down.  In turn, new lines of fiery crosses shot out from them.  A multiple chain reaction followed throughout.  The whole "vision" that had been darkness was now completely overcome by this inundation of fiery crosses.[4]

 

As the last of the dark gave way to the light, the vision ‘exploded’ into a wall of high vertical flame.

 

Showing through this translucent wall of flame I could see (in the lower left corner of the vision) printed words on a white background, as though in a book. I didn’t read the words but understood that they were from the scripture, and that ‘the Word’ was included in that writing. Beyond the flame and the words I could see the pews and front of church.

 

I found that I was also hearing the prayer in the background.  When I heard the word ‘fire’ mentioned (at least I thought I did) in the prayer, the vision had not long gone. 

 

I have often puzzled over this, but Zechariah 2:4-5 is never far from my thoughts in regard to this vision:

Jerusalem will be a city without walls ……. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glory within.’

 

Also, I have wondered (with a considerable degree of hope) if the ‘Wall of Fire’ vision pointed to a great revival. That there would be an outbreak of God’s Holy Spirit among people in Australia (and spread elsewhere); leading many people to repent of their sins, and accept God’s crucified and resurrected son, Jesus, into their hearts.  And in accepting Jesus, they will receive the promise of eternal life.   In this regard Jesus said:

 

I am the way and the truth and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me.” 

(John 14:6)

                     

 The Spider  -   Tuesday  27 March 2018 - 7pm Easter Service   

 

…. if you stop your sinning and begin to obey the LORD your God, he will

change his mind about this disaster that he has announced against you….  Jeremiah   26:13

 

Nearly a year later the second blessing happened. My wife and I attended an evening Easter service (in support of the Word) in the chapel of the church where we had previously been members.  Again, the service was conducted by lay preacher Ian R:

 

During a prayer given by Ian, as my head was bent in prayer I realised that there was a vision in front of me.  It was a translucent 'from above' view of twigs, stones, and much in the way of dried / dead gum leaves, such as would be seen accumulating in the bush or forest.  It was a dry pale brown vista.

 

Between me and the ground, quite some distance away from me, and well above the ground, was a small black spider.  It was slowly traversing across the view on a single dark strand of cobweb.  The spider seemed especially tiny against the background. I tried closing and opening my eyes, but the vision remained.

 

The vision seemed to last for length of the prayer.   The spider had not got past a quarter of the way before the vision finished.

 

This “Spider” vision I found more puzzling than the ‘Wall of Fire’ event.  

 

Several times during October 2019 a recollection of the ‘Spider’ vision came to mind.  Each time the view to the ground below the spider became increasingly distant, and insignificant; as though gaining height in an aircraft.  In the direction the spider was proceeding on his single dark strand of web, the vista towards the horizon was wide, brown and barren. 

 

Nevertheless, this vision continued to be a source of puzzlement until mid January this year, when thanks to Peter M, my attention was directed to Isaiah 59 and Job 8 of the Bible.  In those chapters, spiders and their webs are associated with sin, and the consequences of sin. They relate to a people whose transgressions and iniquities are significant.  In respect of the consequences these quotes seem particularly relevant:

 

“your iniquities have been barriers between you and your God,”  Isaiah 59:2

 

Such are the paths of all who forget God; the hope of the godless shall perish.” Job 8:13-14

 

As the Spider steadily nears its final destination, the question arises: “Do events (e.g. fire, smoke, flood, hail, pestilence / plague, wind, drought, earthquake, famine, ash cloud etc.) for those that the Spider represents, become progressively more unfortunate, frequent, and bleak.”?

 

 

 

The Lord’s Favour -  Saturday  9 March 2019

 

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, ... whoever rejects the Son will not see life,

for God’s wrath remains on them.   John 3: 36

 

Again, almost another year later, on Saturday 9 March 2019, the third blessing eventuated, but in a very different form.  It involved a ‘chance’(?) encounter with someone who (indicative of many people) did not understand or want to know, that no one can earn their way to heaven by their good deeds or works outweighing their bad deeds (sins).   In consequence of the conversation that ensued, it became ultimately apparent that he did not understand :

 

It is God’s love for his creation (us) that caused Him to send his Son to be crucified as the perfect sacrifice in atonement for our sins (i.e. anything that we do, say or think, that separates us from God); 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

It is only by God’s grace, made available to those who believe in his Son, that we are acceptable to Him;

 

Jesus resurrection represents the defeat of death and the promise of eternal life for those who believe in Him;

 

The only way to knowing and being one with God, is by knowing and having faith in his Son, Jesus; and that there is no other way;

 

To reject the Son, is to reject the Father. 

 

From a position of ignorance or rejection of these truths, my acquaintance sought to prove that I was wrong in my faith.   In response to prayer for guidance in dealing with this situation, I was blessed with the Lord’s presence around me and welling up within me. With a great sense of joy, excitement, and enthusiasm I found myself saying repeatedly “the Lord is with me” While I could say “the Lord is with me”, my acquaintance could not.  This outcome underscored as to: on whom it is that the Lord’s favour rests, and whom it does not.  John 3.36 and 14:6 quoted above refer. 

 

Until the first few days of January 2020, I had not thought of this blessing being connected to the other two. Nor had I considered the wider significance of it.  Like the two visions it was the subject of email very soon after happening.[5]

 

Reflection

 

…. We know that for those who love God all things work together for good,

for those who are called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

 

In November 2019, mindful of the possibility that these three blessings were not just for my benefit, I felt compelled to write an account of them in the hope of making it available to others.  In doing so, perhaps gain a better understanding myself of the significance of these events. Thus, here is my understanding so far, in brief:  

 

‘Wall of Fire’ as a visual spectacle was unforgettably impressive. The control and unstoppable power and authority of the living Lord God Almighty were overwhelmingly apparent. There is a close connection with the verses in Zechariah, Chapt 2 with this vision - Zech 2:13 (top of page) and Zech 2: 4-5 are particularly relevant[6].

 

The ‘wall of fire’ at the culmination of the vision recalls the Lord’s declaration in Zech 2:4-5 that He ‘will be a wall of fire around’ Jerusalem  The vision began with the formation of a fiery cross as a reminder of Jesus Christ crucified and risen. The massive number of chains of fiery crosses that issued from that one cross converged to symbolise Jesus as the ‘wall of fire’ around the new Jerusalem (as in Zech 2:4-5). The large cross at the front of the church (visible through this transparent vision), is representative of the presence of Christ in the new Jerusalem as “its Glory within[7]. In this regard the Lord declares that He will reside in this new Jerusalem, among his people who have come from many nations to be unified in Him[8]  – And that they ‘will know that the Lord Almighty has sent’ him. (Zech 2:11 refers).

 

‘The Spider’ is about the steady inevitable progress to a bleak, desolate, barren, and unhappy destination that awaits unrepentant sinners.[9]

 

The Lord’s Favour’ was a reminder of the exclusiveness of being in Christ, and the reality of the exclusion of those who choose to reject Him.  (Everyone and anyone are welcome to follow Jesus, if they choose.)

 

Also conveyed, was a brief but exciting hint of what awaits those who put their faith in Jesus. 

 

 

Summary:   There were three blessed occasions over three years that involved the ‘Three in One’. 

 

Each occasion speaks loudly of the closeness of God and that He is in control.  Combined, they point to two possible destinations available to us at the end of life's journey on earth – the new Jerusalem, or the bleak and unhappy one.  And so we have a choice – One that is determined by our acceptance or rejection of Jesus.[10] 

 

 

There may well be several messages conveyed by the 'Wall of Fire' and 'The Spider' encounters.[11]   For me, these two visions have evoked connections with God’s word expressed in Isaiah 24; in particular:

 

4 The earth dries up and withers,

the world languishes and withers,
the heavens languish with the earth.  

 

5 The earth is defiled by its people;
    they have disobeyed the laws,
violated the statutes


    and broken the everlasting covenant.
6 Therefore a curse consumes the earth;

    its people must bear their guilt.

 

23 The moon will be embarrassed,
    the sun ashamed;
for the Lord Almighty will reign
    on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem ..,
                                                                                     (Isaiah 24)

 

For some understanding as to the prospects these associations of vision and scripture being realised, it is worthwhile reflecting on Judah's rejection of the Lord their God.  Because of their idolatry, disobedience, and unwillingness to change their ways, the Lord caused them to be invaded and taken into captivity by Babylon (597-582 until 539 BC.).[12] 

 

The scriptures view idolatry as our: wanting, relying on, or looking to, anything for greater fulfilment than God. Aside from ‘greed’[13], today this can apply to such things or activities as: a car, house, physical fitness, sport, job, social club, a yacht, good works, book collection, mobile phone, fellowship, computer, a building, Twitter, Facebook, etc.  - The list is long and diverse!  Idolatry causes us to turn away from God’s love for us[14], as the people of Judah did long ago, to their cost.  The following verse relates:

 

“..   the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” Deut. 4: 24

 

Of course, any conduct that is in breach of His authority such as disobedience’ and ‘unwillingness to change our ways’ is in effect a rejection of God’s love.[15] 

 

·        For a nation, a State, or a territory; a breach of the Lord’s authority can be the implementation of legislation that is at odds with clearly expressed intentions and commands given in scripture. 

·        Any person or organisation is in breech of God’s authority, if they intentionally deny (or seek to deny) anyone an appropriate opportunity to hear or read what the scriptures has to say about Jesus – In particular, the significance for them of His crucifixion and resurrection.

·        Someone professing to be a Minister of the Word will be in breach if they actively misrepresent God’s word or otherwise ‘preach another Gospel’ (Gal 1:8 refers).[16]   

 

To not want to know about Jesus is to reject God’s love.  As evident in the ‘The Lords Favour’ above, the consequences of accepting or rejecting Jesus are real.[17]

                                                                                                                                                                                             

Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  Matt 7: 3-14

                                                                                                            

 

As for an indication of when an association of these blessings and scripture (i.e. The Day of the Lord) might happen, it would seem that the time is now very much closer than it used to be.   However, Matthew 24:36 states: "…about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” In any case, we should live our lives so as to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance”. (Matt 3:8).   

 

 

Burning Bush

 

………. “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord.    Zechariah 4:6 [18]

 

Mindful of the ultimate significance of the three encounters deliberated above, and the fact of their occurrence, I have continued to hope, with a considerable degree of optimism, that the ‘Wall of Fire’ vision also contained a message about revival of Christian faith in Australia – And perhaps it might be like the one that broke out in The Hebrides Revival of 1949?[19]

 

My understanding of the fiery crosses segment of that vision as at the end of May 2020, is that: aside from being a reminder of Christ crucified, it also actively illustrates progress of a faith revival.  That is, a visitation of the Holy Spirit that will facilitate a fire-storm of faith spreading rapidly far and wide, throughout Australia, and beyond; and that it will do so with great vigour and intensity.   

 

I cannot help but pray in support for such a revival, and the consequence that it suggests:

      

   - That a  great many more people will choose to accept the risen Jesus as their Saviour and Lord;

 

- That they will receive God’s grace, the promise of eternal life; and

 

-   That having received the Holy Spirit, they will want to change their ways and seek, know, and live by God’s word.   

                             

            A Matter of Choice

 

Who is the man who fears the Lord?
    God will teach him the path he should choose.
  Psalm 25:12

 

The Gospel of John 1:1-5 testifies this about Jesus:

 

In the beginning was the Word,  and

the Word was with God, and

the Word was God.

 He was with God in the beginning. 

Through him all things were made;

without him nothing was made that has been made.

 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 

 

Each and every person who hears the good news about God’s grace (the promise of eternal life) made available to them through the sacrifice of his Son, is confronted with a choice.  It is a choice between the light and the darkness - A choice between life and death. To do nothing, is the same as choosing the darkness, and death. They can accept or reject Jesus as their Saviour - Their choice.[20] However:  

 

Salvation is found in no one else,

for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.  Acts 4:12

                                                                                                               

 

“… Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,

                                                                   whose confidence is in him.[21]            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eternal Li

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lion of Judah

Lion of Judah

They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” 
Jer17:7-8

John Griffiths

(a penitent sinner)

Revised 21 June 2020           To A Prayer of Worship, Praise, Thanks and Honour

 

 

 

 

 

Lion of Judah

 



[1] Over that previous ten years, service had occasionally been conducted by congregation laity and visiting preachers.  I have no reason to wonder as to their keeping faith with God’s word as conveyed in scripture.  (15 Apr 2020)

[2] Deut :8:3 is relevant in this regard:  “... man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (It is restated by Jesus in Matthew 4:4.)   God caused the Israelites to wander in the wilderness for 40 years to instruct them in this regard.  Listen to Dick Lucas of St Helens on Deut. 8:3  https://www.st-helens.org.uk/resources/talk/4465/audio/  (19 August 2020)

[3]As seen in the Great Dividing Range.

[4]Thanks to Leigh H and Judith G whose enquiries led me in early January 2020 to clarify the telling of the progress of the 'lines of fire' event of the vision; and so, closer to doing this event justice.  

Also thanks to Rev. Romeo D. for his comments re the crucifix analogy. (9 February 2020). 

[5]I encountered Hassan in the park by the river. I could tell by Hassan’s clothes that he was of another faith. Very quickly our relaxed conversation evolved into one of him acquainting me of a standard list of ill founded criticisms of Christianity by his faith. e.g. “God wouldn't allow his son to be killed”.

It was apparent that Hassan intended that our continued deliberations would reveal that one of us would be proven right in his faith (him) and the other (me) proved in error.

I prayed to the Lord for guidance. Then I was aware of myself responding to Hassan: “the Lord is with me”. Next I was turning away to the left side, and automatically bowing my head reflectively. I felt the Lord’s presence, about me and welling up within me.  For a brief but significant moment I was overcome.  Then I looked up and turned back to face Hassan, and with a sense great joy, excitement, and enthusiasm (and perhaps loudly) saying repeatedly: ‘‘the Lord is with me” - My right fist clenched in the air above and front of my right ear.   While I could say ‘‘the Lord is with me”; Hassan, having witnessed my blessing, was now hard pressed to say much at all - This was not the outcome Hassan had expected.    (N.B. These events are given in brief – others were present).

I have continued to pray that Hassan, his family, and others like them come to know and accept Jesus as their saviour.

For insightful comment in respect of such encounters I can recommend the book ‘Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus’ by Nabeel Qureshi. This was a very helpful recommendation to me after the event, by Evan M.   See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nabeel_Qureshi_(author)  &  Allah and Yahweh: Not the Same God - Beth Grove  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0psJcz5i4T8

[6] At the time of experiencing the vision I had only a vague recollection that the ‘Wall of Fire’ in the Old Testament. I needed to consult Google to find where. As for Zech 2.13 I found it in a list of verses on the net.

[7] Revelations  21:22 “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” Also refers.

[8] Revelations  21:3 “…. God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” Also refers.

[9] As Humanity increasingly rejects God, the nearer the spider draws to its destination. (1 Sep 20)

[10] Last two sentences revised in an attempt to accurately reflect overall message. 1 May 2020.

[11]Leigh H has suggested that Ezekiel 20: 45-48 might be relevant, in particular ".. prophesy against the forest of the Southland" about a fire that “will consume all your trees, both green and dry ...”.  

‘Southland’ is one of several interpretations of ‘נֶגֶב’ / negeb {neh'-gheb, from an unused root meaning  to be parched}: The Negev, south country, southern, southeast, southward and south, are some others.

 ‘Southland’ expressed in Latin is ‘Terra Australis’.  (14 Feb 2020)  

[12] Books of the Bible: Daniel, Jeremiah, 2 Chronicles, 2 Kings refer

[13] Colossians 3:5 refers.  (17 March 2020) 

[14] Jonah 2: 8   “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them…”

[15] Aside from rejecting God’s love it implies a serious disregard for His other significant qualities.  That is, his being: good, holy, gracious, mysterious, righteous, eternal, immutable (changeless), omniscient (all wise), forgiving, caring, all-powerful, all-knowing, patient, faithful, just ….

[16] This sentence added 13 June 2020 is inspired in part by earlier encounters alluded to at the beginning.  Note: The equivalent of ‘Minister of the Word’ in German is ‘Servant of the Word”

[17] See Who are you following? Re John 10:1-10  Speaker:   Charlie Skrine  Series: The Good Shepherd  24 Sep 2017,

 https://www.st-helens.org.uk/resources/talk/55567/video/    (Ezekiel 34:1- 4 .... also relates)

[18] Last night the quotation from Zechariah, and this morning the tile ‘Burning Bush’ came strongly to me in this regard. (27 May 2020)

[19] The Hebrides Revival of 1949 - The Lewis Awakening  see video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGOWYCX5VtQ   

[20] Insight courtesy Rev. Hugh P.  (19 Jan 2020)

[21] Video ‘Seeing or Believing’ provides insights by Charlie Skrine, St Helens, Bishopsgate UK   https://www.st-helens.org.uk/resources/talk/55147/video/  as does the series ‘Seeing is Believing’  https://www.st-helens.org.uk/resources/series/4945/ of which it is part.