Blessed  Encounters

 

“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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Seeking the Word

 

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

 

A trend of decline had become apparent.  It had been my church for 42 years.  In less than a decade, its congregation that 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, 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.  This led to a number of interesting and challenging situations 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 significant blessing for me was the awareness of the importance of God’s word as expressed in scripture.  This awareness led to my wife and me 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.

 

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

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

 

 

     Wall of Fire   -   Sunday 2 April 2017 -  9.30 Service    

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.  

 

An event occurring during the ‘Prayers of the People’ given by a member of the congregation proved to be especially significant that day:  

 

As I closed my eyes and bowed my head, I was made aware that in the top half of the vision of my minds eye was a thin lateral line of flame.  It was burning on the left side of a black background of Australian bushland countryside 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 short 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 extended rapidly, and a succession of short lines of fire appeared across the extending lateral line of fire as 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.[1]

 

As the last of the dark lost out 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. 

 

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.’    Zech 2: 4 -5

     

On its own, I had 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  

          

Nearly a year later 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 it 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: “To what extent do events for those that the Spider represent; become progressively more bleak, unfortunate, and frequent.”? [2]

 

 

Reflection

 

“The light of Israel will become a fire,  and its Holy One a flame,

and it will burn and consume .”  Isaiah 10: 17-19

 

In November 2019, mindful of the possibility that these things were not just for my benefit, I felt compelled to draft an account of them in the hope of making it available to others.  In doing so, perhaps gain more understanding of what these events are about.     

 

Until near the end of 2019 I had thought of the 'Wall of Fire' and 'Spider' visions as being unconnected.  There may well be several messages conveyed in these two visions with which I have been honoured.[3]   For me, the thematic connection of ‘burning’ and ‘drying’ of these two visions, together in sequence, has evoked recollections of God’s word as expressed in Isaiah 24; in particular:

 

4 The earth dries up and withers,

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

 

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


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

    its people must bear their guilt.”

 (Isaiah 24)

Perhaps this is a warning? 

 

For some understanding of what the prospects are of this association 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.).[4] 

 

The scriptures views idolatry as our: wanting, relying on, or looking to, anything for greater fulfillment than God. Aside from ‘greed’[5], 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[6], 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[7].  For a nation, a State, or a territory, a breach of the Lord’s authority might be the implementation of legislation that is at odds with his clearly expressed intentions and commands expressed in scripture.

 

As for an indication of when this association of vision and scripture might happen;  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).   

 

The fact of these two visions experienced by me is evident by their being the subject of emails shortly after happening.

                                                                               

 

A Matter of Choice

 

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

 

Almost a year later, there was another significant encounter on Saturday 9 March 2019, but in a very different form.  It underscored as to: on who it is that the Lord’s favour rests, and whom it does not.[8]  John 14:6 quoted above refers. This event was also the subject of email very soon after happening. Until the first few days of this year, I had not thought of it being connected to the other two events.

 

 

My hope persists: 

 - That the 'Wall of Fire’ points to a great revival of Christian faith, so that a great many more people will choose to receive God’s grace made available to them because of the sacrifice of his son, Jesus, on the cross;

 - That they will repent of their sinful ways and accept the risen Jesus as their saviour and Lord; and

- That in consequence, they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and so want to seek, know, and live by God’s word. 

 

(My prayers reflect that hope.)   

 

 

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 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.   To do nothing is the same as choosing the darkness. They can accept or reject Jesus as their saviour - Their choice.[9] 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.[10]            

Eternal Life

 

 

 

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 March 2020

Lion of Judah 

 

 

 

Lion of Judah

 



[1]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 of 9 February 2020. 

[2]For example: fire, smoke, flood, hail, pestilence, wind, & drought etc. 21 Mar 2020

[3]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  

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

[5] Colossians 3:5 refers.  17 March 2020  

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

[7] 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 ….

[8]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 and casual 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) .

[9] Insight courtesy Rev. Hugh P.  19 Jan 2020

[10] 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.