Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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The West’s New Clothes – Adapted from the Emperor’s New Clothes

Emperor West was a vain man. He was always shopping and buying new clothes. As soon as he’d get back to his palace he would race into his dressing-chamber and take selfies of himself in his new outfits. In fact, he’d spend so much time congratulating himself on how many likes he got on Facebook that the actual running of the kingdom was neglected! For instance, the army was usually in disarray and the kingdom was constantly at threat by their enemies.

One day when the Emperor was just about to upload a particularly flattering video to his Instagram story, two con-men came up to the palace. They’d heard that the Emperor was vain and spoilt and thought they could probably swindle this guy prettily easily.

And they were right. All they had to do was exploit the Emperor’s pride in order to deceive him into believing that they could make him look even more gorgeous, and thus more admired, in their magic outfit that they would tailor for him. There was one amazing thing about these clothes: they had a magic thread that was invisible to the stupid or to those unfit for office.

Emperor West was captivated. With these clothes he would be able to deduce who of his courtiers, officers and ministers around him were foolish or unfit for their job. That would save him from having to use his brain with the added bonus of giving him more time to check-out those new filters on Instagram he’d just discovered.

As the con-men began to “work” on the Emperor’s New Clothes the Emperor would send his ministers in one by one to check on their progress. And one by one the ministers were faced with the same conundrum: none of them could actually see the clothes or the threads. In fact to them it looked as if the “tailors” were actually making a big, fat lie!

But the Emperor was waiting for their report. What were they to do? Do they report what they actually saw and face being denounced as “stupid” and potentially lose their job? Or do they go along with it? I mean, maybe they were stupid and everyone else could actually see the threads! Was it just them? Because Minister Man-Pleaser had reported yesterday that the outfit was beautiful. Perhaps if they had done that doctorate at university like he had they too would be able to see them…

The pressure was huge. To say what the Emperor expected them to say… To say what everyone else had said… to not be thought of as less intelligent than the other Ministers…. To not be called names, or lose their reputation, their standing, their position… to go along with the New Clothes.

And so that’s what they did, one by one. Each reported back to the Emperor that the outfit was taking shape nicely, the threads were exquisite, the design more beautiful than anything they’d seen. And with each new report, the pressure mounted for each successive minister sent in to inspect the clothes.

Meanwhile the news of the Emperor’s New Clothes was fast spreading around the Kingdom. This was encouraged by the Emperor himself who wanted to garner as much admiration for himself as possible from his loyal subjects. After all the latest poll was due any day now and, since he had eradicated the need for government policies to be based on any objective morality long ago, the polls had become the ultimate point-of-reference for his government. So important were these New Clothes that when he finally put them on for the first time not even a live feed would suffice – no, for this there would be a PARADE.

And so with the ministers boasting to their families and friends about how they had seen the Emperor’s New Clothes taking shape themselves, the media promoting them and celebrities tweeting and even writing songs about the New Clothes, a veritable frenzy ensued and the people were primed and ready to receive the Emperor with his New Clothes.

(It must be added that there was the constant sub-current reminder to the kingdom’s subjects that ONLY the intelligent and competent were able to see the Emperor’s New Clothes. Occasionally a nay-sayer would pipe up with a disparate opinion but that one was suitably shouted down by the crowd, and even a few celebrities, using a few choice words such as “ignorant” and “bigot”, much to the Emperor’s satisfaction.)

In fact the Emperor was sometimes a little taken aback himself by the strength of force levelled at those few dissenters, but it suited his purpose well enough and so he told himself that if at times it seemed a little malicious, the end justifies the means.

Finally the day of the parade dawned and the Emperor woke up bright and early. As his courtiers ushered in the con-men tailors the king was shocked. He could not see any New Clothes at all in the arms of the tailors. But as they “dressed” him in the light, silken cloth and flattered his ego the Emperor West decided it was too late to turn back now. Even though he couldn’t see the clothes himself he was darned if he was going to disappoint the crowds of loyal subjects lining the streets to see him.

Proud as peacock the Emperor began his parade. The crowds most satisfyingly ooohed and aaahed at his splendid New Clothes. They commented to their neighbours on the fabric, the design and the colours, each one outdoing the rest in their admiration of the New Clothes.

Suddenly a 9 year old boy giggled. And snorted. And then pointed at the passing Emperor.

“He’s not wearing any clothes!” He called out laughing. His sister also started to laugh.

There was silence.

That wasn’t meant to be said.

But it was too late to un-say it.

From the back of the crowd two men in suits and sunglasses emerged and made their way to the 9 year old boy and his family. There was some talking in low voices between the men and the boy’s parents. While the crowd looked on the parents at first seemed to resist but then the family of four went with the men. After a few moments the crowd filled in the hole where the family had been and the Emperor continued his parade. The cheers began again and the crowd congratulated themselves in the knowledge that they were progressive.

The next week a new decree was issued from Emperor West’s palace that far and wide the kingdom’s schools would be introducing new methods of education for the kingdom’s children. Everyone agreed that the new books being written, new songs to teach the children and even new teachers were a good idea and ultimately in the kingdom’s best interest.

THE END

Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Emperor’s New Clothes”

By Belinda Thorne

 

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Rebuilding the Altar of the Lord

“No man is greater than his prayer life….failing here, we fail everywhere.” Leonard Ravenhill

It is time we rebuild the altar again brothers and sisters.  The Spirit of God is calling us to return to the prayer closet.

Remember the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel? Before the fire of God could fall on the offering, Elijah had to rebuild the altar of the Lord “that was broken down“.

Broken down… neglected…disused….Nobody cared enough to do something about it until Elijah came.    It was a time of backsliding in Israel. Evil king Ahab was ruling with his evil wife Jezebel.  Witchcraft and the occult was abounding, people were turning away from the true God and to lesser gods. Sound familiar?

And then Elijah comes to turn the hearts of the people back to the Lord.

Just like John the Baptist would do later, Elijah confronted the people with his holy life, and with his words:

“How long will you falter between two opinions?”

But they answered him not a word. How sad. When God’s people no longer seek Him they lose the conviction within them for the truth, they go silent on good and evil. Things that were once detestable to them slowly start to be tolerated. It’s a recipe for lukewarm-ness.

“Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come near to me.’ So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.” 1 Kings 18:30

Notice Elijah rebuilt the altar in front of the people. His life was an example to others, just as ours should be, particularly in ministry. We can’t call others to pray if we aren’t doing it ourselves.

The altar represents prayer, coming before the Lord and offering up the sacrifice of praise.

Let’s rebuild the altar again Church so that the fire of God can once again fall!

 

God bless!

 


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God’s Hidden Dealings with His Servants

When God calls someone to His service He begins by dealing with them in secret.

In a hidden place is where our ministry for God begins. Secretly, just you and Him, hidden away together. Like a lovers’ tryst. We meet with Him in the secret place and we tell Him all that’s in our hearts, our worries, our sins, our thoughts, our hopes and dreams. And He speaks to us, He shows us things, meets with us. It is in the secret place that He does His deepest work in us. When we meet with Him there is nothing He cannot do, for we willingly offer ourselves to Him, simply in the deliberate act of going to spend time with Him. Healing, deliverance, forgiveness, joy, cleansing, calling, commissioning, authority, anointing are all available in the secret closet of prayer.

Written on my heart in and in my spirit are the special times I have spent with the Lord in prayer, times that I will never forget.

It is where I got to know Jesus. My prayer closet used to be in my living room on the rug after everyone else had gone to bed. I remember one day in the sunshine I looked at that rug and was amazed to discover it was covered with many little dots all over it. At first I wondered what the circles could be. Suddenly I realised they were my teardrops, shed over many years in the presence of the Lord on that rug.

That rug was the first place I met the Lord and was broken under the weight of my sin. The rug was where He kept calling me and drawing me back to, like the beloved in the Song of Songs. I had young kids at the time and I remember through the exhaustion of days with toddlers I would long to get to night-time just so I could meet with Him again.

The Principle

The prayer closet was where Christ called me, commissioned me and got me to preach to Him the first time. He told me to begin the food pantry from our garage which lasted 8 years and springing off from that a prayer meeting was borne, a home fellowship began and people were saved.

That was my training ground. It was years of apprenticeship before my life’s work began. The secret place was where it all really begun, yet the fruit spread out in the open and things began to happen.

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in Secret shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:5-6).

When something is birthed in the Spirit in the secret-ness of prayer, then it is a true work of God and it will start to move out in to the open without our having to force it.

God said to Elijah, after he proclaimed a drought in Israel to evil King Ahab

“‘Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide thyself by the Brook Cherith…’ ” 1 Kings 17:1-3

Go hide thyself. Just you and me. And thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly… God had more work to do in Elijah before He would send him out for the huge victory at Mount Carmel. He had to be made ready, sharpened and polished for his work.

The Fruit

It was “after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah….saying “Go show thyself…” 1 Kings 18:1

When it was time and God had finished His preparatory work in Elijah then he was sent out from the Lord’s presence.

A true prophet, (one who speaks for God), has been with the Lord, spent time in His presence before he/she goes out and speaks to man on God’s behalf. And Elijah carried out from the Lord’s presence a word from God. It was to tell Ahab that “I will send rain on the earth.” 2 Kings 18:1

“…a man who kneels before God will stand before men.” Leonard Ravenhill

If we want to truly minister then it begins in secret, just you and God. When it is time, He will send you out to carry His Word to others and you will begin to bear fruit for Him.

You see it comes down to this: from where does it originate?

You want to work for God? From Where does your work originate: heaven or earth?

One is the heart of God, planned in the counsels of heaven and revealed and birthed through the Holy Spirit in His Church on earth. When the Spirit works through the Church eternal fruit is brought forth.

The other is the arm of flesh. Man looks around at the needs of man on earth or in the Church-system and plans what he can do to help. But there’s no divine imprint on it and it will be dead works because it originated on earth rather than in heaven.

 

This principle also applies to Moses, Christ Jesus and the Apostle Paul. All were dealt with secretly for years before God sent them forth on their divine missions. We are often in a hurry but God is not. God is after fruit that will last and He will spend much time and energy in preparing His servants for His work, after all the testimony of Christ on this earth is a stake! Let us seek God Himself in secret, and from that place of living relationship He will reward us openly.

 

God bless!

Belinda