Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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Missionary Quotations: Gladys Aylward

“I wasn’t God’s first choice for what I’ve done in China…I don’t know who it was…it must have been a man…a well-educated man. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn’t willing…and God looked down…and saw Gladys Aylward…and God said, “Well, she’s willing…”

 

Gladys Aylward, Missionary to China

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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


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A Message for the New Year

Dear friends,

As we are about to see in the year 2019 I felt to share the sermon which the Lord used to save me.  It has been over 10 years since I last listened to it, and having just re-listened it has spoken to me, challenged me, changed me again by the power of the Spirit of God.

I encourage you to listen to it prayerfully.  I believe that anyone who does so cannot remain the same.

I don’t know about you, but I am over the programs, formulas and business strategies that are being used wholesale in the Western church today in the pursuit of building our own kingdom.  I am sick of Church without God and a cross-less Christianity.

“That’s what the Chinese Christian said you know when he got back to China: “what’s impressed you most about America?”  he answered “the great things Americans can accomplish without God”

Ten Shekels and a Shirt by Paris Reidhead

https://youtu.be/9d7mhAY5FVw

May God bless you as you listen to this message.

Belinda


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Back to the Streets: Diary of a Girl Street-Preacher

Last night, after two years, I went back to the city to street preach.

Why did I stop? I don’t know, only that the Holy Ghost compulsion to go simply left me two years ago.

It’s not like I’ve been doing nothing in that two years, I’ve been preaching in a homeless mission on a regular basis, I have preached twice at a drug rehab centre and also a Baptist church. I’m almost now qualified as a Chaplain too, but the street preaching just stopped. I didn’t have any idea if I ever would go back to the street, but I knew that I certainly didn’t want to go back in the flesh.

The fact that I had been given an amazing PA system for free and I’d only used it once street-preaching sometimes haunted me. I had said a number of times to a fellow street-preacher that he is welcome to it, but he never came to collect it.

So why did I go back? I don’t know either. Only that over the last few months I’ve started to feel the desire to go again. Every now and then, little things, and then the fire inside would leap a little. And then I’d pray “Do you want me to go back Lord? I will go back but only if You want me to and You need to show me”.

And then I’d let it rest again.

And then my Mum said she’d take my kids last night for the night as it’s school holidays at the moment. Then I heard on the grapevine that the team was going out last night to the city. It was a perfect set of circumstances to go. And I wanted to go.

Then….I woke up yesterday morning with that familiar nervousness in the pit of my stomach, thinking why do I have to go? Why does it have to be me? All the other Christians are going out for dinner or sitting at home in their comfy PJ’s watching tv, why me? Sad huh.

If you want me to go, please confirm it Lord, because I don’t want to. I’m scared.

Then I see Pst Bill Randles Blog title “Wisdom Cries In the Streets”. I turn to Proverbs 1:20, 21:

“Wisdom cries aloud in the streets

She raises her voice in the open squares.

She cries out in the chief concourses

At the openings of the gates of the city…”

 

Hmmm. I remember that right now it is Sukkot and that Jesus cried out in the street at Sukkot:

“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying, “if anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37, 38

So I went. I took a darling daughter in Christ with me, for her first time, and we went. When we arrived Pst David prayed over us John 7:38.

I thought I wouldn’t preach, that I’d just hand out tracts and see how I went.

That’s what I thought.

When I got to the “gate of the city” at the steps of the great station I knew I was to preach. Seas and seas of people crossing the road toward me, coming down the steps from the trains behind me. Seas and seas of people whom perhaps had never heard the gospel, who may never hear it. So I preached. And man, it just felt like home. It felt so good, so right, so amazing.

Even when the two lesbians very deliberately came and stood right in front of me passionately kissing as I preached the gospel. Even when the father leant over on his small son’s back in mocking laughter at me. Even as people called out “My god is football!”

I was so glad to be there. Because that’s where Christ Jesus is.

I had forgotten that “all the while He was down (by His Spirit) among the poor struggling, drowning creatures in the angry deep, with His arms around them trying to drag them out, and looking up – oh! so longingly but all in vain – to those on the rock, crying to them with His voice all hoarse from calling, “Come to Me! Come, and help Me!” [1]

Blessings,

Belinda


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Jesus Christ and the Veil

So far we have made our way through the Outer Court of the Tabernacle and into the golden fellowship of the Holy Place.

Now as we approach The Veil, illuminated by light of the Golden Candlestick, we feel a sense of awe, even fear. The inwrought Cherubim tower

source: blog.ninapaley.com

above us on the four meter high Veil as if to protect the Most Holy Place. On the other side of the Veil is the Ark of the Covenant – where the presence of God, or the Shekinah glory, dwells. The Ark of the Covenant was the throne of God on the earth and it was awesome in its majestic holiness.

But we will see the beauty and divine truths of the Veil too, of how once again it is a picture of God’s precious Son Jesus Christ and His work to remove the separation between God and man.

“Therefore brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the Veil, that is, His flesh.” Hebrews 10:20

The Three Doors of the Tabernacle of Moses

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tabernacle of Moses contained three doors, one for each area of the Tabernacle:

  • The Gate –  the entry point into the Outer Court of the Tabernacle
  • The Door –  the entry point into the Holy Place; and
  • The Veil – the entry point into the Holy of Holies

 

Contrast Between the Door and the Veil

The Door The Veil

Provided access to fellowship with God Provided access to worship of God
No Cherubim embroidered on Door Cherubim embroidered on Veil
Door held up by 5 pillars Veil held up by 4 pillars
Set in brass sockets/foundations Set in silver sockets/foundations
Door for entrance into the Holy Place Veil to keep out from the Most Holy Place

 

Separation from God

In contrast to the Door as the access point into the Holy Place, the Veil was rather a curtain of exclusion. It was designed to keep anyone from entering the holy presence of God in the Holy of Holies and thus keep sinful man from polluting the Holy presence of God.

“…The veil shall be a divider for you between the holy place and the Most Holy.” Exodus 26:33

Only once a year on the Day of Atonement could one man, the High Priest, enter the Holy of Holies and not without blood. Therefore even the priests daily ministering unto the Lord within the Holy Place could not access the Most Holy Place through the Veil.

 

The Cherubim

The Veil had inwrought Cherubim on it. Cherubim are not merely angels, they are seen throughout scripture in relation to types of the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Cherubim speak to us of the Holiness of God.

It is Cherubim that are wrought from the gold of the mercy seat and are thus overlooking the Ark of the Covenant.

It was Cherubim that guarded the Tree of Life with a flaming sword after Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden.

And just as the Cherubim prohibited sinful man accessing the Tree of Life, so too they prohibit entry into the Holiness of God.

 

The Material of the Veil

“You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, scarlet thread and fine woven linen. It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim.” Exodus 26:31

The Veil was made of woven blue, purple, scarlet and white fine linen.

Four pillars supported the Veil. These were made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold. The sockets for the door were made of silver.

 

Significance of the Materials

God specified the exact materials and proportions to Moses that were to be used in the Tabernacle, in order to convey eternal truths to us:

The Fabric

As Hebrews tells us that the Veil is a picture of Christ’s flesh, we see how the material used details divine truths of Him:

White fine linen- a picture of Christ’s righteousness

Blue – His heavenly nature

Scarlet – His sacrifice

Purple – His Kingly nature

 

The Four Pillars

Acacia wood overlaid with gold is such a beautiful picture of Christ. The incorruptibility and earthliness of acacia wood signified His incorruptible (sinless) human nature and the gold signified His heavenly divine nature. Both God and Man in the one Person.

Whereas the Door into the Holy Place had five pillars, the Veil was upheld by four pillars.

The four pillars represent the earthly ministry of Christ: when God came to earth in the flesh. The four gospels witness to His earthly ministry. Thus the four gospels uphold the earthly ministry of Jesus, as the four pillars uphold the Veil, “that is His flesh”. (Heb 10:20)

Sockets of Silver

The five pillars upholding the Door were founded in sockets of Brass, however, the four pillars upholding the Veil were in sockets of silver. Brass speaks of judgment, whereas silver speaks of redemption. The silver used to create these sockets would have come from the Israelites redemption money (Numbers 18:15, 16) and so the Veil literally stood in redemption metal.

 

The Significance of the Veil

The Veil as Separation

Thus we see the Veil’s effectiveness in keeping sinful man separated from a holy God. Sinful man could only enter through the Veil once a year on the Day of Atonement, with the blood of an animal shed as substitutionary atonement for the sin of the High Priest as well as Israel.

If any tried to enter the Most Holy Place by any other means than God’s proscribed way he would be struck down dead immediately.

 

The Veil as Intercessor (between God and man)

We see it is no trifling matter to approach God in His majestic holiness. We see He is to be approached with awesome reverence, something much of the professing Church is missing nowadays. To approach Him lightly is to make light of the blood of Christ. Just like the substitutionary animal, someone had to die for us to be able to approach the Throne of Grace. And not just anyone, God. God died so that we could approach Him.

And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.” Isaiah 59:16

We see that as the Veil, Christ, as the second person of the Godhead, stands in the gap between Holy God and sinful man. We see that He is the way through to the Most Holy Place, the awesome majesty of God.

It is only through His torn flesh that we can approach God. It is through the blood that He shed on the cross that we can now come before the Throne of Grace.

 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh…” Hebrews 10:19, 20

 

The Veil as a Picture of Jesus Christ

Jesus Himself said “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

We must go through the Veil to approach the Father. Remember the Veil stood in redemption metal (silver) and so it is by personal faith in Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross that we are saved. There is no other way in to the Holy of Holies, no other door, no other Veil.

It was when Jesus died, and that Veil was torn from top to bottom, that the way was made open for sinful man to be able to enter God’s presence.

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom;…” Matthew 27:50, 51

Hallelujah! The separation between God and man is now removed in Christ and we have the privilege of being able to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

What an immeasurable honour that we can approach God now and boldly! That word “boldly” means “freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech; openly, frankly, i.e without concealment; free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance”.

Because of Jesus Christ’s earthly work at the cross we can now approach God as a child approaches his father. We can go with full assurance that in Christ we are acceptable to Him. We will not be rejected because we are no longer sinful in His sight, but we are now the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

Christ Jesus is truly our Great High Priest. He stood in the gap for us, He paid the penalty of sin for us and He made the way open for us. Hallelujah to the Lamb!

 

Belinda 🙂