Death and Life by Ruth Dickson

A Picture of Death and Life.


Multitudes assembled from both near and far to listen to the message John the Baptist preached. Within the gatherings of the multitudes, were those who believed John the Baptist’s message. They desired a change of heart. Yet, there were others; Pharisees and Saducees, with hardened hearts. John the Baptist described them as a “Brood of Vipers”. These religious leaders were confident and self-absorbed with ceremonial and external performances. They presumed they had no need of repentance and preparation because of their father, Abraham. In their hearts and minds they were deceived; believing they were above the law; faultless and sinless. In trying to keep up with outward obedience to rules and regulations, they missed the inward change of heart that God desired.


Today in the Church, Repentance; a change of heart; to turn away from sin, is a much hated word.


The Forerunner:

John the Baptist can be described as one who knew his purpose and call. He emerged from the deserts of the wilderness to bring about change. He pointed to Christ. Like a bridge, he lay himself down between the Old Testament and the New. Jesus walked across this bridge, into prepared hearts, ready to receive Him.


John Prepared the Way:

John the Baptist, “Prepared the way of the Lord.” As prophesied by Malachi, he would come in the Spirit of Elijah (Malachi 4:5-6). John spoke boldly, challenging people’s hearts, minds and way of living, calling them to repent for the forgiveness of sins.


A Symbol of Cleansing:

Water cleanses, washes, it purifies. The work of Baptism involves immersion. It also involves the coming up, emerging, from that place of immersion. Baptism symbolises the old being washed away and emergence of the new. It mirrors the death of the old man and the emergence of the new man.


A New Creation in Christ:

God is calling His children to come out of their old ways and embrace the new. Just like in the days of old, God is raising up voices to speak boldly, without fear. God used Noah to “Prepare” the Ark, but the people would not listen. God used John the Baptist to “Prepare the Way” and many believed, repented and turned away from their old ways, while others did not. The voice of John the Baptist is being echoed by the servants of God today 🗣 Christ is coming soon!

The Winnowing Fan:

By the power of the Holy Spirit, God is calling His people to turn away from their sinful ways. Christ is coming again. Like a winnowing fan, He will separate the Chaff from the Wheat. He will separate Goats from Sheep.


Are You “Prepared” Brethren?

Christ is knocking at the Door, the gates are open. Through Christ’s Death and Resurrection, He has given New Life.


Anyone in Christ is a new creation. The Old has passed away. Behold, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christ has prepared the WAY. Christ is the Highway of Holiness, prepared for those who walk in the WAY. (Isaiah 35:8, Romans 6:22).


Make Straight The Way of The Lord:

Christ has removed every stumbling block. He has demolished every obstacle by filling up the valleys, pulling down the high places, making the crooked places straight and removing the stones to make those rough, hard places smooth.. Abide in God’s presence. Prepare by faith. The Lord is coming soon.

© Ruth Dicksonwww.gihonpublishing.com

The Unmissable Fragrance of the Lily of the Valleys by Ruth Dickson

Christ the Lily of Valleys

The Lily grows in the most unexpected places. It can be found in dark places. In the depth of the Valley is where this delicate flower flourishes. It is a flower amongst flowers, as its fragrance permeates any environment it is found. It is a flower of purity, found in the most rough and inhospitable terrains.

Christ is the Lily of Valleys. He is the brightness of this dark world. Found in the deepest of Valleys, He brings beauty and warmth, to ugly and cold places. The fragrance of Christ’s presence is delightful. It touches the untouchable, giving them an unmissable divine and heavenly aroma.

The Glory of God.

In the face of Christ, is the glory of God. His power, reaches the depths of the earth. Christ gathers those on the fringes of society: the poor, the weak, widow, the fatherless, the meek, the weary, the lonely, the downcast. There is no one God’s Spirit cannot reach.

Anyone who trusts in Christ will never be put to shame. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

©️Ruth Dickson

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The Refiners Fire by Ruth Dickson

The Refiners Fire

Israel went through years of suffering and sadness. In their years of captivity and enslavement, it seemed like God had abandoned and forgotten them. These harrowing years were to bring correction to a people whose hearts were sold out to other gods.

The Prophet Isaiah:

God raised up a prophet to speak to Israel in its dry and wilderness places. The prophet Isaiah brought words of chastisement, but he also spoke prophetic words of God’s comfort. Isaiah reminded the children of Israel that God had not forgotten them in the wilderness. The Prophet reminded Israel of God’s promises.

The Valley of Dead Bones:

Many Christians today have discarded the promises of God in a Valley of Dead bones. A valley of dead bones is an illustration of hopelessness and helplessness. It is a stagnant picture of no hope and no expectation of change.

Just like the children of Israel during their dark days, many children of God feel abandoned in a never ending dark valley. Many have been in this place for so long that prayer has been neglected. Just like like the Prophet Isaiah, the Spirit of God is bringing correction and a message of hope and comfort to God’s people today.

God has not Forgotten His Promises:

You must remember, until Christ returns, there will be many trials and tribulations. The Christian is a pilgrim on a journey towards Heaven. Until you get to Heaven there will be mountains and hills, valleys, crooked and rough places to journey through. You must never forget these testings and ordeals are temporary. For many these circumstances will be used as instruments by God to bring discipline and change. These adversities will lead you to repent, turn away from sin and turn to God. There is a highway of Holiness that belongs to God’s people. The unclean can not go there…

God is Able:

God is able to meet you in the Valley. It does not matter what the Valley is called. It may be named disappointment; betrayal; heartbreak; fear; rejection; addiction; singleness; joblessness; illness; moral failure; spiritual barrenness… no matter how dark the Valley or how long you have been there, God is able to meet you there.

God’s Words of Comfort:

God has not abandoned you. In your wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight a highway in your desert places. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level and the rough places smooth. ( Isaiah 40:1-4).

The Glory of God:

In the face of Christ, you see the glory of God. Look to Him alone, listen to His voice, He will give you the grace to obey. God will never leave you or forsake you. God’s Word stands forever.

You have a journey to make, but always remember the Comforter, the Holy Spirit is travelling with you, every step of the way. You are not alone.

©️ Ruth Dickson

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The Failure of Man Made Effort by Ruth Dickson

The Failure of Man Made Effort

Deep within the heart of every human, you will find pride. You see evidence of this in the story of Adam and Eve. Adam was placed in a beautiful garden and put in charge, but it was not enough. Adam thought he could override God’s ways and do it his way.

Self-righteousness:

The attempt to serve God with one’s own righteousness; to reach perfection and be in right-standing with God, can never please God. Self-efforts, self-works, self-will and self-righteousness is deep-rooted in the human. It is sinful, tainted and can never appease God. The sacrificial offering Christ made by giving himself up as that one and only, once and for all, living sacrifice, is what appeased and continues to appease God. The total reliance on Salvation through Christ alone, is something the proud human heart never naturally accepts.

Through Christ Alone:

Salvation through Christ alone is the message the Bible preaches. It is the message Christ and His disciples preached. Salvation through Christ alone is hard to accept because it brings to nothing human effort. The claim of any human to be in right standing before God, that is, through their own hard work, finds itself insufficient before God’s throne of grace. Many find this hard to accept, the underlying issue here, being the age old conflict in the human heart.

The Influence of Divine Grace:

God’s Grace has divine power. It influences, instructs and guides the believer in the right way. It is the work of God’s spirit. It transforms a person and makes them more Christ like. By the power of God’s spirit, we are led away from sin. The lifestyle that displeases God becomes weaker, as God’s power takes over, and becomes stronger in the life of the believer.

©️ Ruth Dickson

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Baptism of Fire by Ruth Dickson

BAPTISM OF FIRE
While the Baptism of the Spirit cleanses, the Baptism of Fire purges.

The human heart is desperately wicked. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit cleanses the heart, it can be described as inward cleansing; the  washing clean of the inward parts.

The Baptism of Fire is for the disobedient, unrighteousness and ungodly. It purges everything, clears out anything that stands in its way.

The Bible makes it crystal clear there will be a day of reckoning. A winnowing fork is the image the Bible uses to describe how the ungodly will be separated from the godly.

When wheat is harvested, it is gathered together and placed in the same place, on the threshing floor. It is here the breaking takes place. The chaff is broken off from the wheat and the winnowing fork raises the wheat into the air. It catches the wind and this separates, blows away, the chaff from the wheat. In Biblical times, the chaff was gathered together and burnt untill it completely disappeared in smoke. The wheat, also gathered together and kept in a safe place.

There is an unquenchable fire prepared for those who reject Christ. It is prepared for those who reject His robe righteousness.

Where will you be found on that day?  I pray it will be in Christ?

It is a daily walk with Jesus and we need God’s Spirit, at all times, to crucify the flesh. We need to do away with the Old man (old nature) and put on the New man (new nature).

Do not despise the chastening of the Lord. Through chastisement, our lives are put in order. Obedience becomes a lifestyle and lessons are learnt through the power of God’s Spirit. Even Jesus, as He walked on earth, learnt obedience through what he suffered. Hebrews 5:8
© Ruth Dickson
http://www.gihonpublishing.com

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The Spotless Bride by Ruth Dickson

THE SPOTLESS BRIDE:
If a garment is full of spots, how can it become clean? It must be washed.

It is sad to note among God’s people these days, the attitude of spoilt children. There is a practice and demeanor that once saved, one can get away with anything and everything. In other words, you want a Father in Heaven who never engages, confronts or corrects his children.

Many see God only from the perspective of a Father who supplies endless goodies, never disciplines, nor requires obedience.

Let us remember that Christ will receive a spotless Bride when He returns. Many will go through dry wilderness experiences. These dry, waste land experiences, in the hand of God, will lead to the production of well watered fertile ground, where good fruit and abundant harvest will be produced.

Others will go through fire. Fire has a purifying and purging affect. The instrument of fire will be used to clean out and remove everything that stands in God’s way.

A yielded vessel is an empty vessel. A dirty vessel will infect everything poured into it. What comes out of a dirty vessel is unclean. An empty vessel can be filled, therefore you should not despise the  chastisement of the Lord. God wants to wash and clean out what should not be in your life. A yielded heart is a heart that turns away from sin. Repentance is the key word here.

When Christ returns, He will present to himself a spotless bride. He has given a beautiful headdress, instead of ashes, the oil of gladness, instead of mourning. He has given a garment of praise, instead of a faint spirit. The Lord Jesus is coming for a prepared Bride. Will you be ready?

Prepare the Way of The Lord. Again I say, PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD!!!

© Ruth Dickson

www.gihonpublishing.com


Prepare the Way of The Lord – 4- By Ruth Dickson

PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD – 4 – by Ruth Dickson

Jesus paid the price for sin. Does the paid penalty free you from any form of faithfulness? To be “saved by grace”- does this obsolve you from obedience towards God? After all, God laid down His life, paying the penalty for sin once and for all and because of this you can live as you please?

It is sad to say that many who are saved by grace, refuse to live under the influence grace. Some believe there is no need for holiness or righteousness. After-all, their place in Heaven is sure and guaranteed.

Such was the ideology of many who met Jesus on a daily basis. Of-course Jesus had to challenge their way thinking with the Spirit of Truth.

One such example is the Woman at the Well. Her steps were ordered by God. With one encounter with Jesus, her sins were immediately forgiven and her life was tranformed forever.

While Jesus talked with her, he had to tackle her ideology and understanding of what it meant to drink Living Water. She was so confident about the old place of worship and style of worship, that she failed to see the condition of her heart. She was still soul tied to a past way of understanding and living. Jesus brought new life. He brought Living Water; Eternal Life.

Many saved by grace fail to recognise they are stuck in their old way of living and thinking. They fail to abide with Jesus, who by His Spirit, gives them new life and new way of thinking.

Jesus Christ helps those who believe in him overcome sin. He frees the sinner from the power of sin, giving them the freedom to walk in a new way. Old lifestyles pass away when you encounter Jesus.

Jesus knows and understands every weakness because He walked on earth as a man, even though He was God.

Repent, turn away from sin today. Trust in Jesus today to help you. He will show you the right way…

© Ruth Dickson
http://www.gihonpublishing.com

Prepare the Way of The Lord – 3- by Ruth Dickson

PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD

It takes years of preparation and planning for a country to host the International Olympic Games. For example, the London 2012 Olympics,  from the bidding stage to preparation stage, covered a span of eight years. It cost over $14.8 billion to host the 2012 Olympics. It took the revamping, regenerating, renewing and repurposing of land for the UK to successfully facilitate the Olympics Games. It was necessary to transform unusable, toxic waste land spaces, by making it usable for the games.

THE DAY OF THE LORD:

This world can be described as  toxic land, in much need of revamping, regenerating and renewing . The air we breathe is polluted and the seas are filled with plastic waste. The Bible says, a day is coming when the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved. This will be the Day of the Lord, however many are unprepared, with some not even expecting it!

READY OR NOT:

Just like all nations prepare and wait in hope and expectation to hold the  Olympics, one day, this world will host an astonishing  event and we must be ready. Whether this world is ready or not, this spectacular event will take place. While the world knows the days that Olympic Games take place, the  Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. A thief will never let you know his time of arrival, otherwise you will prepare for his coming.

THE GLORY OF THE LORD:

One day, the Lord will return in glory, will  you be ready? He will  come with a winnowig fork in His hand to separate the chaff from the wheat.When chaff is removed from wheat, it is burned up, while the wheat is gathered up and safely put away in barns. The Bible uses symbolic  language to show there will be a great separation of people on the last day, just like Goats will be separated from  Sheep. Into what group will you fall? Will you be thrown into never-ending fire or rest, eternally, in the bosom of the Lord?

REPENT AND TURN FROM SIN:

The hour is now. God is calling people to turn away from sin and follow Him. Your soul means so much to God, that He sent His only Son, Jesus, as a substitute to die in your place. He died for the salvation of your soul. Jesus  died so that you can live. He is ever willing to forgive you, if only you draw near. Turn away from sin and turn to God. He will give you a new start, a new heart and a new life.

© Ruth Dickson

http://www.gihonpublishing.com

Prepare the Way of The Lord – 2 – by Ruth Dickson

PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD by Ruth Dickson.
As you may be  forced to stay at home, because of LockDown, perhaps this is a time for inward reflection.

Think about this: Before a wedding takes place, there  is so much preparation that preceeds it. Each day counts, in the run up to that one special day. There is so much excitement and external activity, that no attention is given to the  preparation of the heart.

THE DAY OF THE LORD:
The Bible describes that great and glorious Day of the Lord as a wedding… It is the day where God’s people rise in glorious robes to meet The Bride Groom. It is a beautiful picture isn’t it?

Sadly, many of God’s people are unprepared for this glorious day. They are not expectant. They do not consider His sudden return. Outwardly, they say they are getting married, but inwardly, never make any preparation for the wedding day. (I am using metaphoric symbols here… Please do not get confused).

Are you that  “Bride” who claims to be getting married, but do not  even  know the BrideGroom? I pray today,  in this time, in this season,  you examine your heart and your ways and be prepared, be ready!

© Ruth Dickson
http://www.gihonpublishing.com

“Prepare the Way of The Lord” by Ruth Dickson

PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD by Ruth Dickson

Are you prepared for the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ?

This is a serious question to consider as the Church goes through this time of reflection and repentance.

For some, being a Christian is about subscribing to a set of rules. For others, it is about regular  Church attendance, you may have had faithful parents who were deeply religious and conservative and so in your mind, you feel this makes you a Christian. For you, it may have been that walk down the isle of a Church, in response to the call from the Pastor on the pulpit, “run forward, if you want to give your life to Jesus.”

You may be one of the most faithful attendees of a Church, attending all programmes, giving sacrificially, ticking all the boxes[], dotting all the (i’s) and crossing all the  (t’s), but you have never, ever been a friend of God.., never known the Lord Jesus Christ, never known the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

To be “prepared” to meet someone you must at least know the person you are going to meet. At least His name, Selah!

What do you know about Jesus Christ? Do you call upon every other name except His name  and claim to be His follower?  What do  you personally know about Him, do you have a relationship with Him? Are you obedient to Him or do you play Church and engage in every activity under the  auspices of religion and claim to know Him? You then pin the name of Jesus Christ on your activity,  with high banners… claiming to know the person of Jesus Christ. Salvation is found in no one else but Jesus Christ. There is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which a person can be saved!

In this season, it is time to reflect and examine your heart. What is in your heart? Why do you do what you do? What do you believe? In whom, have you believed?

Reflection:
Do I really know the Lord Jesus Christ? Do  I have a personal relationship with Christ?  Do I genuinely walk in His ways? Am I bound by pretence; keeping up appearances in the presence of others?

Lord Jesus, “Prepare the Way,” prepare my heart to receive you.

It would be nice to hear from you. If this post has blessed you kindly leave a comment. You can also send an email to: info@gihonpublishing.com
© Ruth Dickson
http://www.gihonpublishing.com

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