Apples of Gold

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Return unto thy rest

‘Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.’

Psalm 116 Verses 7 & 8

It has been a long time since I managed to put pen to paper or to be more precise, to hit these keys with any true conviction. It is not that I have not wanted to write; I simply have not been able to. I write what God gives to me, or what He puts into my heart. These last few months I have bee so troubled that I have been unable to speak or write.

It has been a period of spiritual education once more for the class dunce. In truth I have been dying. I have seen things in my own heart that I had not seen before. Thoughts have come into my mind that have been straight from Hell itself. I wallowed in my own mire and filth of sin. Being made more aware of the wickedness or the sinfulness of my sin is not pleasant.

There were many things in my life that required mortification. Thoughts had to be censored before being allowed to infest my mind. Self with all its pride needed to be put to death many times each day. Fears enveloped my soul in ways that were foreign to me. I thought that I was strong in the faith, but I have been shown to be the weakest of all Christians.

Never have I questioned my salvation, yet I have been reeling and staggering like one drunk and often at my wit’s end. My armour of vanity and pride proved useless as the arrows pierced my soul. I was unprepared for the ferocity of the attacks and of the venom, which they carried.

I longed for peace and I pled for cleansing and strength to withstand the onslaught, yet I sought refuge in all the wrong places. How could this gangrenous soul face His God again? How could this body of filth and corruption approach Holiness? My works proved futile and darkness invaded my utmost being.

It was not until I read the words at our head that light dawned. For the first time in many months the Living Word stopped me in my tracks and begged me to take heed. I found my condition and myself in this Psalm of David.

Verse 8 in particular caught my attention. I had been living daily saturated with various fears. I found three of these fears mentioned in this verse. Others may read more into this verse than I do; yet today I want to pas on to you a few thoughts that came to my mind.

I saw three particular fears that are common to almost all Christians. The fear of death, the fear of chastisement and the fear of backsliding.

I wonder if there has ever been a day when I have not backslidden from the King’s Highway. My life is one of perpetual procrastination. I am forever wanting to do good, to study more, to deny self, to be fervent in prayer, to shine as a light in this world yet I am an expert at postponing these good things until ‘later on!’

My dairy for tomorrow is already full!

My God is such a hard Task Master! His ways are just too strict for me and His laws are impossible to keep. The Bible is written for ‘perfect people’ not for the likes of me. I simply cannot live up to the standard that is set forth in His Word.

I try my best but it seems as though He always has a frowning providence over me and He is never pleased with my works. Every day seems to bring with it some new chastisement or other. Often I think that the day that things start to go right in my life will be the day that the tide stops coming in!

Death is coming to me; I can ‘feel it.’ How many times do I have to put up with these chest pains? They are all warning signs preparing me for the big one. Others have spoken to me lately of their fear of death, yet when analysed, they do not fear death itself, and rather they fear the thought of dying or the process of dying. I know that it is something I must face, something we all must face, but not today Lord, please.

With all these fears life is not worth living. It has become a perpetual nightmare of sorrow and pain. Surely there is a better way. Surely there is a way of escape. Surely there is refuge even for me the greatest of sinners. I am absolutely exhausted trying to find rest and peace!! I have no strength left.

‘Return unto thy rest.’

Those who are closest to me know that I want more than anything to honour my God, to live for Christ, to be a means of encouragement to others, to be the best father to my children, to be the best husband to my wife, yet here I am in need of encouragement and help myself!

I need to find rest for my soul. I have wasted too much energy trying to find a resting place on floating carcases. It is time to return to the Ark!

It is never too early to swallow pride and go back to basics and that is what I needed to do. The journey to Calvary is familiar to me yet I followed the path this time with a mixture of trepidation and excitement.  Would I be accepted back into His fold again after all that I have done? Was His blood powerful enough to cleanse such corruption as has been flowing through my veins of late?

‘Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.’

Words sweeter than honey to my needy soul. Jesus the Christ of God still loves me. In spite of myself He waits with outstretched arms and love in His eyes as the prodigal returns.

Light invades my soul and cleansing comes with such power that I see no man save Jesus only. Washed clean in the blood of the Lamb. The Lamb who was slain for me the vilest of sinners. My exhaustion has gone and my soul is energised once more. I pout on the whole armour and rest. I rest in the finished work of my Saviour Redeemer. In rest in the Ark. I rest safe in the arms of Jesus.

I am no longer backslidden as I follow in His footprints. I no see eyes of love instead of a frown and what about the fear of death? Well I am now living for that day! The Lord hath dealt bountifully with me.