Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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Mission Preaching & the Two Birds

March 10th

Preaching at the Homeless mission about six people came up for an altar call afterwards. As I was praying for them I felt that God wanted me to particularly minister to a young, tall, dark-haired woman.

I’d never seen her before. Her striking features reminded me of the gypsies I had seen years ago in Europe.

I simply said to her “God wants to say something to you”, but at that point I had no idea what.

She looked at me expectantly.

I said let’s pray.

So as I prayed for her I saw above her head a black bird and a white bird.

I told her this picture I saw and asked if she knew what it meant. No, she shook her head.

Neither did I. Let’s ask the Lord I said.

So we did and then a question for her:

“Have you ever been involved in the occult?”

“No,” she said, “not the occult. Just sometimes my friends read Tarot for me.”

I explained to her Deuteronomy 18 and that Tarot reading is one type of divination which God forbids. She had no idea.

“And horoscopes is the occult too?” she then asked.

Yes

“And psychic mediums?”

YES

“But that was years ago,” said she.

I told her a story my pastor told me years ago. The occult can be likened to a legal situation we find ourselves in. We spend an hour with a solicitor discussing the matter, but when we leave we decide against pursuing the legal situation after all and let it drop. However that time we have spent with the lawyer must be paid for despite the fact that we have decided to let the matter drop. And you can rest assured that he will make us pay.

When a doorway is opened into the forbidden spiritual realm it is not closed by time, disinterest or our will. It is only closed through our repentance and renunciation.

I then saw that the two birds represented the two kingdoms – one of light and one of darkness. She was trying to mix Christianity with occultism/paganism, but they can’t be mixed. Those two birds are two very different birds and it’s one or the other. A plain and clear choice must be made. And the consequences are eternal.

The devil will try to murder us outright as Christians (physically or spiritually) and if that doesn’t work, he will bring in mixture. Think of Balak engaging a diviner to try to curse Israel. Murder. When that didn’t work what happened? Mixture. Instead the Israelite men began to engage in sexual immorality with Moabite women, then sacrificed to their idols. (Numbers 24 & 25). Murder or mixture.

Well praise the Lord my friend eventually repented of her sin and renounced it all. At the end of the night she lifted her hands in worship and sung with all her might praises to the Lord Jesus Christ, whom is far above all.

“Far above all, far above all. God has exalted Him far above all. Crown Him as Lord at His feet humbly fall. Jesus, Christ Jesus, is far above all.” Christian hymn

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How to be Sensitive to the Spirit of God

Sensitivity to the Spirit of God is driven primarily by being able to hear Him.

“The Lord God has given Me

source: catechismway.blogspot.com

The tongue of the learned,
That I should know how to speak
A word in season to him who is weary.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear
To hear as the learned” Isaiah 50:4

Again, sensitivity to the Spirit of God is driven primarily by being able to hear Him.

He awakens my ear to hear as the learned”

This hearing happens within our spirit. This can be sometimes channelled through our physical ear as we listen to a sermon, or someone gives us an encouraging Word, but not always. But it is always through our human spirit.

What do I mean by our human spirit? When we are followers of Christ, His Holy Spirit comes to dwell in our human spirit and quickens (or makes alive) that inner part of us which was previously dead through trespass and sin. With our spirit now alive to the Lord and His Spirit dwelling within us we have the ability to hear His voice.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” John 10:27

Whether we hear a sermon, read something or feel a prompting in the spirit, we know it is of the Spirit of God when it bears witness with our spirit.

Sometimes you may listen to a whole sermon and nothing registers in your spirit. It could be an intellectual masterpiece, or it could stir our emotions, but if it doesn’t penetrate through the realm of our soul and into the spirit it is simply the flesh and profits us nothing spiritually. Another time you may hear a couple of words, a line of a song, read one verse and your spirit suddenly jumps. You know like you know that that is a Word for you. That is the Holy Spirit speaking, bearing witness to your spirit.

When that happens we need to slow down and listen. We need to allow it to really sink in and take root in our hearts because the Spirit of God is trying to tell us something. We need to wait on God. But even more than that, we need to be so intimate with Jesus that we are constantly in a pose of listening to Him. Remember Mary sitting at His feet… We are with Him where He is so that when He speaks a Word, or wants us to do something we are so close to Him that we know like we know immediately.

“He who has ears to hear let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches”

Jesus said something similar to this multiple times through the gospels and also repeatedly to the churches at the beginning of Revelation. Since He repeated this phrase so often there must be a reason for it.

Hearing in the Spirit Leads to Speaking Forth in the Spirit

Notice in Isaiah 50:4 it says “The Lord God has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary…”

The hearing in the spirit and the speaking forth of a word in season to those around us are connected. How do we speak forth with the tongue of the learned into people’s lives in order to minister and be a blessing? By having our ears awakened to hear as the learned! We need to hear from Him first or else we will have nothing to offer others.

The deaf-mute man whom Jesus healed in Mark 7 is a picture to us. This man could not hear, thus he could not speak. Jesus first touched the deafened ears, then spat and touched his tongue.

“Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”

Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.” Mark 7:34,35

Are you wondering why you have nothing to give others? Do you not know what to say when someone comes to you for help? Do you feel like you have failed them?

You need your ears opened by the Lord. Go wait on Him. Confess your need, confess your desire to be able to feed others with the Word and ask Him to open your ears to the Spirit. Then when He tells you to do/say something, do it. Prompt obedience to the Lord is a sure-fire way He will keep speaking to us.

Blessings!

 

 


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Syria

Ian Vincent

 
“...Damascus shall cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap.
(Isaiah 17:1)
 
This Bible prophecy is 2500 years old.
 
Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.
 
Now the prophecy is being fulfilled.
 
And reading the rest of the chapter it’s clear that when this prophecy is fulfilled it is a sign that Jesus Christ will soon return to judge the world.
 
The Bible is not out of date.

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The Order of Suffering

I went to preach at the Homeless Mission on Saturday night and praise the Lord I had the honour of leading two men to Christ afterwards.

pain
acrylic and pastel

I didn’t know what I was going to talk about, I didn’t know how I was even going to be physically able to preach. My body was aching, exhausted, sore and bandaged.

Late October I woke up one morning with both my hands and feet tingling. This was constant and it covered both my feet and hands, up my ankles and wrists, non-stop. The doctors couldn’t explain it and I could get no answers. Then my back began to hurt. Long story short, I have 5 herniated discs in my back. I have been in constant pain since November. December was the worst when it was highly inflamed and agonizing. I spent most of December horizontal, including Christmas Day.

Why do you allow suffering Lord?

Because that is the order of things at the moment. The order of things is suffering.

Obviously I prayed. Although I don’t know if you’d call it prayer or just non-stop desperate cries for help. I certainly couldn’t get on my knees, I couldn’t even sit, but I non stop cried out to the Lord. That’s pretty much all I could do in December. I had all the usual questions : Why me? What have I done to deserve this? Have you finished with me God? Will I ever be ok again?

In late December I had a dream.

I was walking in a grassy field with my two kids. There in the middle of the field was a huge wooden cross standing upright. I made my way over to it.  As soon as we got close to it the presence of the Lord was thick and strong. The children commented on how strong His presence was. I simply wrapped my arms around the thick, square shaped vertical beam of it and cried my heart out.

In fact I woke myself up crying. I was still in the presence of the Lord when I awoke. I could feel the solid wooden beam in my arms still and the thought foremost in my mind was that Jesus’ nail-pierced feet are so far above me, way up high compared to me.

I have been slowly improving through January until now. Every day I get a little better until…last Friday night I sat down on the couch with a cup of black tea in my hand. As I sat down, focussed on protecting my back, I spilled the whole cup of scalding water in my lap. The pain was intense. I ran straight to the shower/bath.

Though He slay me yet I will trust Him

Job was all I could think about in the bath. Job worshipping God despite his circumstances. I worshipped God in the bath, in the pain.  Eventually I went into shock and an ambulance took me to hospital. Apparently if you burn yourself in an area larger than your hand then as your body tries to cool down the burn, your body temperature drops too far and you can go into shock. In hospital….Second degree burns, potential plastic surgery….

So there I was on Saturday night, in pain, still recovering from my back injury, legs and groin dressed in bandages, moving like an elderly lady, having no idea what I am going to say to these homeless people, to the suffering, the scarred and wounded…..

The order of things is suffering.

Man chose his way and now it must run to completion

Man has to be allowed to run with his independence from God to full growth because He will never impinge on his free will. But man has to see that the way he has chosen will never work.

Suffering will be brought to full-bloom

“Except those days be shortened no flesh shall be saved, but for the elect’s sake God will shorten those days”

Then Christ’s order will be ushered in.

To suffer is to be human. To suffer is to be Christian. It is through many hardships we must enter the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).

But there is One who left the glories of heaven and chose to enter the order of suffering. When Jesus took on human flesh He willingly took on human suffering. And He suffered more than any other human: beaten beyond human recognition, betrayed, abandoned, forsaken by God.

He chose the order of suffering for you and me. He stepped into it and brought us redemption. Not that we won’t have problems and suffering any more as His children and friends, in fact we may have more, but that He will be with us through it all.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;” Isaiah 43:2

The other day my prayers changed. I was lying on the floor asking Him to heal my wounds. I looked at the scars on my leg and suddenly I loved them. I felt great affection for those ugly brown, bubbly burn marks.

They identified me with my Saviour

And I thank Him for them now. I don’t want them to completely go. I want them to stay so I “bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus” (Gal 6:17)

I shared my suffering, pain, wounds and the great, great love of our scarred Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ with the homeless on Saturday. The presence of the Lord was strong as we came together in our suffering and brought two new babes with us to cling to that old rugged cross.

 

Belinda 🙂


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Preaching the Kingdom and a Stolen iPhone

While I was preaching at the homeless mission on Saturday night my mobile phone was stolen.

It was an iPhone and contained my life on it – emails, access to this blog, photos, contacts etc. I saw the young lady touch my phone and I knew in my spirit that she was going to take it, but while I preached it didn’t even concern me, it simply left my mind.

But when I had finished it hit me that she had disappeared and so had my phone. And then I got annoyed, frustrated and concerned. Identity-theft, violation of privacy, indignation at her audacity all these thoughts and emotions were swirling around in my mind while I searched for her within the building and outside, all in vain.

And the other thing in my mind: that I was already being tested on the very thing I had just finished preaching about. I had spoken about broken-ness being the qualification in God’s kingdom for ministry. God’s breaking of the power of the flesh, the crucifixion of it. How He wants us to no longer react from the soulish realm, the realm of emotion and intellect, but instead to walk in the Spirit and live in His kingdom of love, forgiveness and mercy.

So we traced my phone by GPS and saw that she had walked down the road about 10 minutes and got onto a train. After that we lost trace of her.

I was mad, I won’t deny it. How dare she steal my phone? I was also mad at myself. Why didn’t I retrieve my phone when I saw her touching it?

I tried to call my stolen phone three times and she ignored it. She sent a message to one of my contacts telling them to tell me that I am not getting my phone back. I began to imagine all sorts of revenge scenarios.  What I would say to her had I the chance! Thank God He didn’t let me talk to her then.

One of the things I had just preached about was how the natural man wants revenge and to “get his own back”.

I went home and changed all my passwords on everything. Then I sent her a message. A message to my own phone which was now hers. I knew her name because we had chatted before she stole my phone.

I told her that I forgave her for breaking my trust and stealing my phone. I told her I prayed she would find peace and blessed her and I shared the gospel with her over text. I prayed that God would convict her and bring her into His kingdom.

The next day we disabled the stolen phone and I got a new phone. Because the old phone was disabled I was now able to re-use my old number. That’s when the phone calls began.

A blocked number rang the first time and I answered. It was a guy asking who I am? I wouldn’t tell him but asked who he was. Then cursing and obscenities down the phone from him and a female in the background. I hung up. They rang back, my husband answered this time.

“Tell Belinda she’s not getting her phone back….” Then he told me husband all sorts of lies about me. Cursing and obscenities again.

They proceeded to ring all through the evening and even through the night. We obviously stopped answering the phone and rang the police. They advised me to change my number, which I have now done.

All I can say is that the devil was obviously very stirred up and was trying to provoke a fleshly reaction from me. If I had given in to it surely it would have been a defeat. But if we react in the kingdom way, of love and forgiveness, of blessing those who curse us, of praying for those who spitefully use us, then we will always have the victory over the works of darkness!

Blessings! 🙂


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Roll Upon the Lord Thy Way

“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass” Psalm 37:5

The word “commit” here literally means to “roll off or away”.

It is applied in this instance to things that are “a) round, globular or rolling, such as a wheel or dung” and “b) heavy – such as would be rolled and not carried ,ie a large stone”. (Strong’s concordance)

It is the same word that is used in Joshua 5:9

“Then the Lord said to Joshua ‘This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.’”

So when Psalm 37:5 says to “Commit your way to the Lord” it is literally saying to “roll upon Jehovah thy way”.

In the Hebrew it is not just to roll off your burdens, but to roll them off onto another, to transfer them.

When we have a burden, a fear or a difficult situation the Word of God tells us to roll it off onto the Lord.

Let us commit all our concerns to God, entrusting them to Him, our loving Heavenly Father, knowing that He is working together all things for the good for us.

Blessings!

Belinda 🙂


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Marriage, Covenant & Virginity

My beautiful country, Australia, is currently holding a postal survey with the question:

“‘Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry? Yes or No

The last votes are due in next week and we find out the result in about a month.

Putting aside the emotional, subjective opinions both for and against I just want to share about the beauty and essence of marriage. Once we see the prophetic pinnacle of truth and loveliness that marriage is I believe it will speak for itself.

And yes I am going to bring the importance of virginity into it, because marriage and virginity are inextricably linked, whether we like it or not.

 

The Bible and Weddings

The Bible begins with the wedding of Adam and Eve and it ends with the wedding or marriage supper of the Lamb – Christ and His Bride.

For God to begin and end His Book with two weddings shows us that He esteems marriage highly.

But what many miss is that God holds marriage so highly that the entire Bible is about marriage – yes the whole thing from start to finish and everything in between.

The Bible details God’s dealings with humankind. From the Garden of Eden in Genesis we see God’s desire to dwell amongst people and to be in relationship with them. Why did He even create the earth and in fact human beings at all? Because He desired fellowship with them. He desired to share the love that is within the Godhead (or trinity) with others. God is in His very essence love, and Love is self-less and seeks to give and to share.

We need to remember that God always deals with us humans on the basis of 2 things :

  • His Son and
  • Covenant (which entails blood)

 

The Bride of Christ

Adam was a picture of Jesus Christ. He was put to sleep, his side was pierced and his blood shed, in order for his bride to be created from his side.

Jesus was put to sleep (died) on the cross. His blood was shed and it was from His own pierced side that His Bride, the Church, was created.

God gave Adam Eve, and God has given Christ the Church.

Thus Adam and Eve were in a covenant relationship sealed by blood, just as we are in a covenant relationship with Jesus. He instituted the new covenant at the Last Supper He had with His disciples on Passover, where He said

“In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Luke 22:20

All throughout history God has dealt with humanity on the basis of covenant and that covenant is always sealed by blood. Each covenant is also a picture of Christ. Consider the Noahic and the Abrahamic covenants as further texts to study.

 

The Wife of Jehovah

God dealt with Israel in the Old Testament by covenant, and this actually took the form of a marriage covenant.

“The relationship of Israel as the Wife of Jehovah is viewed throughout the Scriptures in various ways and facets…..The entire format of the Book of Deuteronomy is that of both an ancient treaty and an ancient marriage contract. In this book, Moses took all the various facets of the three earlier books and presented them in the form of an ancient marriage contract. In this book we find the marriage contract signed between Israel and God whereby Israel becomes the Wife of Jehovah.” (Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum)

In the Passover the sacrificial lamb’s blood was shed and painted on the doorposts to save the Israelites. This was the shed blood to ratify the covenant and it also pointed to the ultimate Lamb whose blood was shed to save the world.

 

Covenants and Blood

Every covenant that God cuts with humankind is sealed with blood.

Why?

Because every single covenant is a picture designed to point us to something greater.

*Jesus*

Jesus is what it is all about. The whole Bible, the whole creation, the whole thing!

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” John 1:14

That Love from God is sent to us in His Son. That desire of God to dwell amongst His people He has brought about through Christ. His shed blood is the seal of the ultimate covenant, the New Covenant between Jesus Christ and humankind. When we enter into covenant with Him by faith in His finished work on the cross we become part of the Bride.

And Marriage is no different.

 

The Marriage Covenant

Marriage is a covenant designed to point us to something far greater. It is designed to point us to Christ and His Bride.

““For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church” Ephesians 5:31, 32

Marriage therefore is a prophetic sign post to point us to Christ and His work on the cross.

Every time a man and a woman stand up before God and human witnesses and say their vows they are painting a picture of Christ and His Bride and the ultimate wedding – the marriage supper of the Lamb.

They are witnessing to the angels, the demons and the earthlings that The Bridegroom has made a covenant with The Bride and He is coming back to get her.

And that is why marriage is so attacked. The enemy wants to remove or pervert the testimony and the prophetic signpost between a man and a woman because it points to Jesus.

 

Virginity

When a man and a woman stand before God and humankind and pledge their “troth” or vows to each other they have entered into a covenant relationship, whether they know it or not and whether they like it or not.

Nowadays we hold marriage and vows so lightly that we don’t even begin to realise their huge spiritual significance. But in the spiritual realm they are binding and they change the situational realities of the two who have entered into covenant. For instance, the spiritual headship of the woman transfers from her father to her husband. And the husband becomes responsible for the woman (and any future children) in every single way – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Whether we like it or not.

So upon entering covenant relationship with each other, there needs to be blood shed to ratify the covenant made.Image result for picture of marriagevows

This is where virginity comes in to the picture.

When a man and woman are virgins and consummate their wedding vows on the wedding night, blood is shed. Scientists cannot explain the purpose of the hymen in the female anatomy. They suppose it must be left over from some evolutionary purpose. But God put the hymen there on purpose so that blood would be shed to seal the marriage covenant.

When both a man and a woman enter in to the covenant of marriage as virgins God has a special blessing for that marriage. That marriage is entered into according to His divine order and He is thereby free to bless abundantly.

For those whom may have entered the marriage covenant as non-virgins, do not fear or feel condemned. God will do a restoration work for you. Simply confess to Him and ask for His forgiveness. Ask Him to bring your marriage into divine order and to bless the fruit of your marriage. God is a good God, full of love, and desires to give and restore.

And this is the essence of our covenant-making, covenant-keeping God.

 

God bless!

Belinda 🙂