Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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God’s Vision for You

Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18

If God has given you a vision of something He wants to do through you, then He wants to encourage you to keep going.   Don’t be distracted or discouraged by the voices around you.  When God births something through His Spirit and gives us a vision of what He wants to do, then no matter what comes against us, we must hold onto that vision and keep pushing through by faith.

If you do not yet know God’s will for your life or if you feel that God wants to bring you into your calling, then I would like to share with you what I have learnt:

1.  Get into God’s presence and seek His face until you know FOR SURE that this vision He is calling you to is from Him and is for you.  Do not speak to other people or seek human opinion.  Speak to God and seek Him only. Ask Him to confirm it to you through scripture and the Holy Spirit and then wait.  He may not show you immediately, but if you are patient and truly seeking His will for your life, then He will show you at the right time.

“Indeed, let no one who waits on you be ashamed…Show me your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.  Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; On you I wait all the day.” Psalm 25:3-5

(Important note: to “wait” on God is not passive – rather it is active, keep seeking Him.)

2.  Once God reveals to you His vision for your life and confirms it through the Word, then ask Him for any specific instructions or guidance.  It may be His will for you to hold on to the vision for a bit and wait till He tells you to move.  We should never advance before God tells us to.  Conversely we should never hold back when He tells us to move.

In 2 Samuel 5:17-25 the Lord not only gave King David instructions on how to defeat the Philistines, but also when to carry out His instructions, ie “when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly.  For then the Lord will got out before you….” (verse 24)  In battle strategy, when is just as important as how.

3.  Only speak to other people about the vision God has given you when it is absolutely settled within your own heart.  And even then only speak to the ones He directs you to speak about it with.  When Jesus revealed Himself to Saul on the road to Damascus He immediately showed Saul the vision and calling He had for his life “…For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness….” (Acts 26:16). Paul did not speak to other men about it.  He didn’t even speak to the apostles about it. Instead, Paul says “But when it pleased God….to reveal His son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood…” (Galations 1:16).  Paul instead went to Arabia for an extended period. He needed time alone with God to establish this vision within his heart.  God also need to prepare Paul for his life’s work, by learning dependence on God, rather than man or on himself.

You need to settle the vision with God and within your own heart before you bring it out into the open.  This is because, unfortunately, as soon as other people know what God has spoken to you, inevitably it becomes subject to human opinion, discussion and negativity.  Even the well-meaning and godly can be used by our enemy to bring discouragement and doubt.

I have had the below image in my mind all morning and felt I should create it.  Here are some potential obstacles that the enemy will put in the path of God’s vision for your life in order to prevent its occurrence :

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(I hope you can see it, I’m still new to blogging!!)

Never forget that God chooses “the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God (chooses) the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He (chooses) the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)  Therefore do not be surprised if the vision He gives you:

  • seems impossible to you or others
  • is contrary to your personality and nature
  • seems to go against common sense

4.  The final point is – to keep going.  Keep your eye on God, not yourself or others. Keep praying. Like Paul, do not be “disobedient to the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19).  No matter what the enemy throws at you, regardless of what doubts and fears you may have, or what other people say, if something has been birthed of God and by His Spirit, if we keep going on by faith, then nothing can stop it.  If a door has been opened by God, then no man can shut it (Revelation 3:8).  Let’s not shrink back, let’s move forward in faith – despite the outward circumstances, despite our weaknesses and inadequacies, and despite what others may think.

“For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” 1 Corinthians 16:9

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Over my morning coffee…

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I used to think that God has a special place in His heart for the poor and needy, the widow and the fatherless – and He does.  But actually it is more than that.  When God says to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the outcast to your home, to spend yourself on behalf of the poor (Isaiah 58) it is not just that He is being kind, it is because this is the very essence of WHO He is.  This is God Himself, reaching down to us in our poverty, our need and our sin.  When God came to earth as the man, Jesus, this was the ultimate act of sharing with the poor, serving the needy and clothing the naked.  He could have stayed where He was, in the light and worship of glory, but He didn’t.  He spent Himself on behalf of the poor, by coming to this dark, sin-sick, broken world.  He not only identified with humanity by becoming clothed with human flesh, He went further.  By His death on the cross He was numbered amongst the transgressors and although He never sinned, He took the punishment in the place of the transgressors of His divine law – you and me.  This was the ultimate act of intercession.  This was the ultimate act of giving.

Even a cursory reading of the Bible will show God’s heart towards the widows and fatherless, the oppressed and needy.  Although we can never atone for the sin of humanity, that was His work alone, He does call us to share the burden of those who have been forsaken, trampled and broken.  To allow ourselves to see suffering and need and not to walk on by.  As Jackie Pullinger says “love looks like something”.  Love can be sharing your food with the hungry, helping out a single mother, even inviting someone in for a coffee.

God is not interested in self-serving religion or religious activities that are devoid of His heart.  In Isaiah 58 He condemns those who fast because “in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exploit all your labourers…Would you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I have chosen; to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free and that you break every yoke?  Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?” (verses 3-7)

Of course it’s not easy.  It’s not easy and it’s rather uncomfortable to allow yourself to see and identify with human need.  It wars against our fleshly nature which is constantly crying out to us “Comfort! Convenience!”

It’s been hard for me.  I am not going to pretend that I have found it easy.  The hardest part for me has been the intrusion upon my own time. I am naturally a bit of a hermit at heart.  I like my own time and space, and my own company.  But because we have a food
pantry that is operated from our garage we do often have people turn up unexpectedly and at inconvenient times.  In particular God has used one lady with serious mental health issues to crucify my flesh.  It has been painful.  From the start the Holy Spirit told me to never reject her, even in my heart.  That has been hard and I admit, I have not always been able to do it.

But today again she came.  I invited her in for a coffee.  We spent a lovely time together and she ministered to me by singing songs the Holy Ghost had given her.

“I refuse to give up

I refuse to give in

I keep hanging on to the King of Kings

The Lord of Lords…”

As she was leaving my home she turned to me and said “Thank you for always making me feel welcome.  Don’t’ ever lose that.  It is so important to people who have been rejected.”

OH God, help us to hear the cry of your heart and to do it! To become people of action, rather than just of words! To do something, anything!

Love looks like something.


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Forcing Us to Face The Horror…Gosnell

Although I am not American, this case has exposed the truly horrific nature of abortion, even here across the world where we also have allowed late-term abortion to be legalized. Pastor Bill Randles says it so well in this article.

Pastor Bill Randles Blog

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When future President, General Dwight Eisenhower oversaw the liberation of German run  concentration camps, he commanded his troops to round-up as many German civilians as possible, and forced them to tour the camps, so that none of them could say, “We didn’t know what was going on out there…”.

Eisenhower wanted to force the German population to fully face the evil that they had allowed in their midst. They had to march through the camps, in order to witness the stacks of bodies, the louse infested barracks, the massive crematoriums, the human survivors who looked like skeletons. Ordinary German citizens were made to inhale the stench of death which their political choices had led to.

German Citizens Tour Camps

Notice in the clip above, that  on the way into the camps the civilians seem smug, defiant, they laugh and joke. But on the way out of the camp they have…

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What Wondrous Love is this?

He didn’t wait until I was perfect

He didn’t do it because I was good

Or a Christian

No. He died for me while I was still a sinner

An enemy

A rebel

That’s what gets me the most

Some may die for family, country or friend

But not Him.

He died for His enemies

For the ones who hated Him, shook their fist at Him, spat on Him, crucified Him

For me.

“This is how God demonstrates His love toward us:

While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Please be blessed by one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard, sung to the Lamb.


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The Night I Met Evie

Reflections of headlights flashed on the puddles as twilight set in.

I walked from the car-park looking for the others.

When I got to the corner where I was supposed to meet them, they weren’t there.

Where could they be?

I crossed the busy intersection to the other side, but they weren’t there either.

Hmmmm….

So down to the tunnel I went, the rain drops falling on my hair.

The entrance to the tunnel was busy but I made my way through.

Gosh, I didn’t realise how long this tunnel was.  Past a busker winking at me, past the jostling crowds, out the other side.

I walked a little along the river, looked around, but, no, they weren’t there either.

Now I really don’t know what to do.

I stop to think.  I turn slightly and that’s when I see Evie.

Although it’s not until later that I learn her name.

Sitting at the end of the bridge begging.  Her head in her hands, behind the scrawled sign “Please help”.

She looks so young.

I go over and sit with her, behind her sign.

“Hi”

“Hi”

“What are you doing here?”

She is homeless, spent the last few nights on the street.

She tells me that everything has been stolen from her as she had slept, her purse, her jumper, even her sanitary pads.

She says that she has a permanent place to go into on Monday, but it’s Friday and she needs help to get through the next two days.

I sit with her. I tell her about Jesus.  She says, “That’s funny, everyone keeps telling me about Him.”

Even as we speak someone walks past and drops a gospel tract into her begging container.

She points to a man begging in the middle of the bridge.

“He’s mad at me, I have to watch out for him, I’m in his patch and taking his business from him. He’s a druggy.”

We have dinner together and afterward I put her in touch with a women’s shelter, I say that I will pray for her and we part.

I walk back along the river, back through the tunnel.

Back to where I was originally meant to meet with the other street preachers.

And I see them.  Right there. They have been there all along.

I had walked right by them and not seen them.  Somehow.

But that’s not the end of the story.

Tuesday night I pray.  I pray for Evie and other stuff.  I wait on God.

He says to me, clear as anything, “Go to Evie.”

Huh?

“Go to Evie.”

But Lord, she moved into a place yesterday, she is fine now.

“Go to Evie.”

But Lord, she’s not there at the bridge anymore

“She will be there, go to Evie.”

Ok. If you give me an opportunity to go, I will go to her.

Thursday afternoon.

My parents drop in and say they will mind my son.

I drive into the city.

The whole way there I think that I must be crazy, what am I doing?  I could be sitting child-free in a café somewhere…

But I go anyway.

The car parked, I get out, walk. Then, for some reason, I start to run.  I run and run to the bridge.  I come over the crest and look to see if she is there.

She is there.  She is begging.

I run to her, out of breath.

“Evie! what are you doing here? You were meant to move in to a place on Monday!”

She looks at me and says “Why are you running?” as only a teenager can.

I laugh, embarrassed, because I don’t know why I’m running myself.

Then she says “The place didn’t work out”

We have lunch.

Turns out she had gotten to the bridge five minutes before I arrived.

Another time she met my husband and we went out to dinner.

She came to my home once.

She said she was bringing someone for me to meet.

(Please God don’t let it be a man.)

I go out to meet her in the drive-way and she’s carrying a baby girl.

18 month old Rose.

Rose had been removed, but was now returned to her mum, Evie.

Because, Evie tells me, a house has become available for her.

Her boyfriend is getting out of jail

and her mum is coming to live with them too.

They stay for a while.  Rose is so sweet.  Evie is too.

That’s the last time I see her.

She moved into the house with her daughter, boyfriend and mum.

It’s far from here.

But she texts me and tells me that they’re doing well.

…….God didn’t let me see the friends I was meant to meet that night

Instead He wanted me to meet Evie,

A young mum,

homeless

daughterless

penniless

hopeless

But He knew.

And He had His eye on little Rose the whole time.

Truly His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting.


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Pentecost (and a Hard Question for You)

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I would like to share something of urgency, which God has put on my heart today.  Firstly though I need to do a little background on the Feast of Pentecost, which, so happens, is today.

Today (from sundown May 14-15) is the national observance of the Feast of Pentecost, or Shavuot, in Israel. Shavuot is considered to be the time when God gave Moses the Torah on Mount Sinai after the exodus from Egypt.  The giving of the Torah to Moses was by God Himself coming down to meet with him on the Mount in a cloud, accompanied by smoke and fire and a blast of God’s trumpet. This was to establish His covenant with His people and so Shavuot is celebrated as the biblical birth date of the nation of Israel.

The basic theme of Shavuot is “the harvest” and of giving thanks to God.  Passover marked the beginning of the Spring harvest and on the Feast of First fruits the first fruits of a sheaf of barley was required to be presented before the Lord, as a wave offering in thanksgiving for the harvest.  From the next day, seven weeks were counted until wheat harvest.  This is why Pentecost is also called the “Feast of Weeks”.

Why is this relevant to us?  Because God works by His prophetic calendar. In the year AD 30, on the day of Pentecost, something else of great importance was birthed.  At Passover Christ had died as the Lamb of God, at Feast of First Fruits He rose again, then 50 days after His resurrection, on the Day of Pentecost, the Church was born.

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  Acts 2:1-4

God once again used fire, wind and other demonstrations of the Holy Ghost to establish a covenant with His people.  This was also a time of great harvest, with many thousands of people being saved and brought into the Church at once.

So this leads to what the Holy Spirit has impressed on my heart this afternoon.  Over the centuries since the Church was born at Pentecost there have been other times of great harvest and the ingathering of souls.  As Peter said, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.” (Acts 2:17, 18) Times of the outpouring of God’s Spirit have been recorded through history.  There was the Great Awakening traced to the Moravians in 1727, there was Whitefield in 1742, John Wesley in the 18th century, Finney in the 1830’s, DL Moody in the late 19th century, the Welsh revival in 1904, Asuza Street in 1906 – just to name a few.

But will God do it again? Will there be another time of a great outpouring of His Spirt, of revival, before the end of the age?  It is my wholehearted belief that it will be so.

(It is not my intention here to prove that God will once again bring revival.  I can recommend the following books if you would like to pursue this question further.  One is Leonard Ravenhill’s “Why Revival Tarries”, the other is “In the Day of Thy Power” by Arthur Wallis.)

The scripture that God impressed upon me today was this:

“And he said, ‘Thus says the Lord, make this valley full of ditches.  For thus says the Lord, you shall not see wind, neither shall you see rain, yet that valley shall be filled with water…” 2 Kings 3:16, 17

God required Judah and Israel to prepare for the coming outpouring of the water which He was to send by making the valley full of ditches.  This was so when the water came it would fall into these catchment areas and not simply run-off and be lost and wasted.  This is what God is speaking to His Church even in this day.   It is no secret that water can be a symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Bible.  He is saying to prepare for the coming outpouring of the Spirit – by making ditches in the valley to catch the water as it flows through.

I guess the Israelites must have dug into the desert floor with some sort of spade instruments.  It can’t have been an easy task to make a valley “full of ditches”.  But while it was probably hard, it wasn’t impossible, and they did do it.

How do we make ditches today?  We need to dig into the hardness of human hearts with the instrument of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The hardness will be confronted with the power of the gospel and pride will be broken down when met with the Word of God.

Jesus said in Matthew 9:38 “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the labourers are few, Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

God needs labourers to go out into the harvest once again and gather in the lost.   God needs us to warn them that without Him, they will die.  I am not being melodramatic.  One thing God impressed upon me today is His urgency to have sinners turn to Him.  He says :

“Say unto them, ‘As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?” Ezekial 33:11

This is serious.  If we truly believe that we are in the last days and if we truly believe that Jesus is coming back as the Lion of the tribe of Judah to judge the world in a Day of wrath, then we need to warn people.  It is God’s heart that none should perish.   But He has entrusted to us the precious task of preaching the gospel, of warning, of being watchmen.  And He actually, really expects us to do it.

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for[a] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.”  Ezekiel 33:7-9

This is not a call for an elite set of evangelists, or for someone with a special anointing, this is a call for every Christian.  Jesus Himself said “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

I am sorry if this makes you uncomfortable or if it bursts your happy bubble, but God’s heart breaks for the lost every single day.  And ours should too.

Of course, the very first thing that occurs when we are confronted by a hard truth, me included, is our sense of inadequacy.  That I am unfit for the task, that I am too weak, too female, or too imperfect hits me most of the time.  But God says we are not inadequate, we are not incapable.  He has called us for this very reason and He will put His words in our mouths.

Listen to this:  Ninevah turned from their sin when Jonah got over himself and warned them of their impending judgment.

They turned.

And they lived.

God is calling for someone to “make this valley full of ditches” in these last days.

Will it be you?

“The fact is, Christians are more to blame for not being revived, than sinners are for not being converted.  And if Christians are not awakened, they may know assuredly that God will visit them with His judgments.  How often God visited the Jewish church with judgments because they would not repent and be revived at the call of His prophets.”  Charles Finney