Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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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

Hanukkah holds hidden secrets to end-time prophecy

menorah-300x183

Most Christians think of Hanukkah as “that nice little Jewish holiday,” but they miss the deeper meaning, says best-selling author and Messianic Jewish Rabbi Jonathan Cahn. They picture Jewish families spinning dreidels, lighting menorahs and eating fried potato pancakes. But there’s more to this eight-day holiday, which begins at sundown Sunday. “It actually holds a big,… Continue reading


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Welcome to The Year of Jubilee

L’Shana Tova – Happy New Year!

Blow the Trumpet in Zion conte crayons, pencil

Blow the Trumpet in Zion
Aug ’15 conte crayons, pencil

Yesterday was the last day of the Shemitah year. Today is the first day of the Jewish civil New Year.  It is also Rosh Hashanah, or Feast of Trumpets.  Today is also the first day of a Jubilee Year.

The Bible connects the trumpet (or shofar) with the Jubilee Year:

“And you shall count seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years. Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land. 10 And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family. 11 That fiftieth year shall be a Jubilee to you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of its own accord, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine. 12 For it is the Jubilee; it shall be holy to you” Leviticus 25:8-12

This is the year to make the trumpet sound throughout your land to proclaim liberty to the captives. We no longer have time on our side my friends. The Bridegroom is returning soon. We need to unashamedly lift up the trumpet (shofar) and “Blow the trumpet in Zion. Sound the alarm in My holy mountain” Joel 2:1

This is a year of restoration. This is the year where we need to ready ourselves in order to receive the returning prodigals.   First we need to let the Spirit of God search us in order to check that our names are written in the Book of Life. We also need to confirm that our lives are in line with the perfect will of God. Then it is that we are to set others free around us.

This is the year that when the shofar sounds those who are captive/bound/oppressed will be set free. Truly “each of you shall return to his possession and each of you shall return to his family”. This is the year that our sons and daughters will return to us.

Yes there is harvest of wickedness ripening all around us.  But simultaneously there is also a harvest of righteousness.  Jesus said that the fields are white unto harvest.  Go forth, go forth my brothers and sisters into the ripened fields, in the power of the Spirit, for the time of reaping is at hand.

God bless you and Shalom this Feast of Trumpets season,

Belinda

 

 

Related posts:

Rosh Hashanah – A Fresh Start

The Shemitah

Street Preaching & Something the Devil Doesn’t Want You to Know


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Jesus Christ – the Fulfillment of Passover

“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)1071010299Behold5Fcard

Jesus is the fulfillment of the Passover feast, the Passover lamb and the feast of Unleavened Bread. Whilst these Old Testament shadows pointed to the One to come, He is the reality behind the shadow. There is so much in the feast of Passover that foreshadows Christ that I don’t have a hope of covering all of it here. So this is just to skim the surface of these treasures:

The Lamb:

  • Type: A lamb was selected for the Passover sacrifice on tenth of Nisan. “Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying “On the tenth of this month (Nisan) every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.” Exodus 12:3
  • Anti-type: Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem on the tenth of Nisan. As He entered the city, so too were the Passover lambs being brought into Jerusalem in preparation for the Passover sacrifices.

lamb

  • Type: The Passover lambs were reared in Bethlehem and brought into Jerusalem for the feast
  • Anti-type: Jesus was born in Bethlehem and came up to Jerusalem for the feast

 

  •  Type: As the Passover lambs were ushered into Jerusalem the crowds cried out “Hosanna!”
  • Anti-type: Jesus was greeted with “Hosanna!” as he entered Jerusalem.  (Hosanna means “Save now” or “Please save”)

 

  •  Type: “Your lamb shall be without blemish….you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.” (Exodus 12:5, 6). The lamb was kept by each family until the fourteenth of Nisan when it was sacrificed. During this period of four days the lamb was inspected to ensure it was without spot or blemish, which would preclude it from being offered to the Lord.Jesus2
  • Anti-type: Before Jesus Christ, was offered to God as a sacrifice He too was also examined – by Annas, by the High Priest, by the Sanhedrin, by Pontius Pilate and by Herod. No spot nor blemish could be found in Him, indeed He was wholly without sin.

 

The Leaven:

  • Type: “For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses….” (Exodus 12:19). Homes needed to be cleansed at this time. (For Jews it is still a time of spring cleaning). Leaven needed to be searched out in each home and removed as this was also the time of the Feast of Unleavened bread.  Leaven in scripture is, of course, a picture of sin.
  • Anti-type: Jesus having arrived in Jerusalem, goes straight into the temple and begins to cleanse the leaven from House of God, driving out those who bought and sold in it. (Luke 19:45) Jesus, of course is the fulfillment of “Unleavened” bread, Him being without sin.

jesus passoverThe Passover:

  • Type: Jesus’ fervent desire is to eat the Passover seder with His disciples. The Passover was a remembrance of what God had done in setting the Israelites free from their bondage in Egypt. The blood of the lamb was painted on the lintels and doorposts so that the angel of death would pass over the Israelite’s homes and they would be saved.
  • Anti-type: It is at Passover that Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper. “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” As Jesus broke the matzah He was telling them that His body would also be broken. Just at the Passover lamb’s blood was shed and painted on the lintels and doorposts – so too would His blood be shed. Under the covering of Christ’s shed blood we are set free from our bondage to sin and the matzahjudgment of God passes over us so that we are saved.

(The Jewish day begins at sundown. Jesus shared the Passover meal with His disciples at sundown as Passover began. He was crucified the next day before sundown, therefore, on Passover.)

The Sacrifice:

  • Type: During the time the temple was standing in Jerusalem, three lambs were sacrificed on Passover.
  • Anti-type: Jesus was sacrificed on the cross at the same time that the first Passover lamb was killed in the Temple. Around the time the second lamb was being slain in the Temple, everything went dark. At the time of the third lamb’s sacrifice, Jesus gave up the ghost on the cross and the veil in the Temple was ripped in two.

God had commanded in the Law that everyone was to be in Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. That means that everyone got to witness the veil being ripped from top to bottom. The New Covenant was now instituted through Christ’s shed blood and the way into the Holy of Holies was made open by the death of the spotless, perfect, sinless Lamb of God – Jesus Christ.

jesus lambOh if we could only truly comprehend what He has done for us! He laid down His life for us – Him who never sinned. His body broken, His blood shed so that we could enter into communion with the Father. The veil of His flesh torn so that the way to God is open for us now!

For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.… Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD….For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:1-14

By one offering Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, took away all the sins of the world…. Hallelujah to the Lamb!

 

 

 


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A Jewish Girl and a Kingdom

Picture it – a young orphan girl, brought up by her uncle in a foreign land where her jewish girlpeople had been carried away as captives years before….She had known the sorrow of the loss of her parents, of poverty and hardship. But now she found purpose in looking after her uncle and hope in looking forward to a future as one day becoming a Jewish wife and mother, even in the foreign land of Persia.

But one day, the King of the land of Susa, where she was dwelling, issued a decree and this young lady, as well as some others, was brought into the custody of a eunuch in the King’s palace.

For the King was seeking a bride.

Imagine this young Jewess, Hadassah, in the King’s palace, gazing at the splendor surrounding her.  The fierce might of the palace’s guards, the opulence of the furnishings.  Everything so beautiful, so different than she had ever known.  And what of her future hopes now?  Would she ever become a wife and mother?  Would this Gentile king cause her to have to relinquish her future and remain with him in his palace?

anointing oilFor one whole year this young lady remained in the eunuch’s care, and eventually Hegai, as he was called, became her friend, her helper, her adviser.  Each day for twelve months she was prepared and beautified for her first meeting with the King.  Each day she wondered what that one night with the King would mean for her and what her future held.  And as she soaked in the oil of myrrh, tears as bitter as that herb flowed down mingling with the oil and softening the harsh callous places of her skin.

After six months of the oil of myrrh preparation, Esther, as she was now known, was led by Hegai to begin the beautifying preparation with perfumes.  Soft and supple now, her skin had been made tender by the bitter treatment of myrrh.

But that wasn’t the only thing that had changed.  Soaking in the myrrh Esther’s heart and character had also been softened by the bitterness of her own “death”.  Death to her future, death to her own plans, to what she had desired for her own life.  But even further, the tender treatment and counsel of her constant companion Hegai had taken her through that bitterness of death and brought her into something new, something fresh, even…exciting.  Now she was filled with a different hope, a different expectancy for the future that was laid on the foundation of a humble yet mature character wrought through endurance.

The perfume preparation complete, Esther was now ready to enter the King’s presence.  Having come through this next stage of preparation Esther had become even more dependent on her friend Hegai and sought his counsel as to what she should take with her to the King.  He, after all, knew the King and the King’s taste.

jewish-wedding-giftIt was Esther’s turn.  Hegai took her to the King and “the king loved Esther more than all the other women and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen….” Esther 2:17

Esther, now as the King’s bride, settles into life as a Queen.  She of humble origins, an orphan, now the Queen of 127 provinces, from India to Ethiopia.

One day Esther receives some troubling news from her uncle.  Haman the Agagite has decreed to exterminate all of the Jews, her people, and her husband the King has authorized this decree!  Her uncle tells her to make a plea to the King for her people.

Deeply distressed, Esther hesitates.  She knows, as does her uncle, that to enter the king’s presence unbidden brings the immediate sentence of death.  Yet she loves her people, her heart yearns for her people with every day that goes by.  Her uncle’s heart breaks, he loves her and knows her dilemma – yet he must utter these words:

““Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews.  For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13, 14)

Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai:  “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:15, 16)

If I perish, I perish

As her tears had rolled into the waters of myrrh long ago Hadassah had known that her life was no longer her own.  It was then that she had perished.  Long ago she had been prepared for this.

And it was because she had perished then, that she could intercede now for those who were perishing.

cropped-girl-praying1.jpgOH Lord, make us into a people like Esther, who would die to ourselves, our plans and our own lives.  Make us into a prepared and beautified Bride, who will come boldly before the throne of grace in Your presence and plead for the lives of those around us who are perishing. Father we thank you for Your Son, Yeshua, the ultimate intercessor, who did give up His life for us, who stood in the gap for us, so that we should not perish but have everlasting life.  OH Lord, help us to be led by Your Spirit only, to seek You only and Your will.  May we be brave and stand in the gap, even in the midnight hour.  In the Name of Yeshua Hamashiach, Amen.

Happy Purim everybody!


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Hanakkuh and Persecution

Wednesday night began Hanakkuh, also known as the “Feast of Dedication” or the “Feast of Lights”.

Hanakkuh is an 8 day Jewish holiday, beginning on the 25th day of Kislev, celebrating the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees in about BC 164.

Hanukkah has now become a special time for us because on Wednesday, the first night of the feast, both our daughter and our son were baptized in our bathtub by their Dad.

We had friends and family over for a meal last night whom witnessed our children’s public declaration of their faith in Jesus Christ.  At the same time we asked their Poppy to dedicate them to the Lord, since this is a Feast of Dedication.

The interesting thing is that until yesterday I didn’t know that Jesus actually attended this very feast Himself in Jerusalem.

“Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.  And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.”  John 10:22, 23

Because all of the Feasts point to Christ, and by the fact that Jesus attended this Feast Himself, I think we could say that Jesus attached some significance to it, and so it is worthy of our consideration.

During the period of the Syrian rule over Palestine the Jews suffered extreme persecution.  Under Antiochus Epiphanes many Jewish men, women and children were slaughtered mercilessly.  He also desecrated the Temple of the Lord by removing the golden altar, candlestick and vessels and setting up a statue of his false god Jupiter in the Holiest of All.  The Jews were commanded to worship this idol and only (un-kosher) pigs were allowed to be sacrificed in the Temple.  The Jews were forbidden from keeping the Sabbath and from practicing circumcision.

Eventually a godly remnant of Jews revolted against this oppression and the desecration of the Temple.  The Maccabees family led the revolt which eventually drove the Syrians from Jerusalem.  Judas Maccabees then cleansed the Temple and re-dedicated it to the Lord.  During this time the Temple was illuminated with a consecrated oil which miraculously lasted for eight days.  This is why Jews today light nine candles, one for each day of the Feast, during the “Feast of Lights”.

Eventually there arose from the revolt three sects amongst the Jews – the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Essenes.

Pastor Bill Randles writes this about the Pharisees in his article “Why Saul Hated Christians”:

“Pharisees were not rationalistic unbelievers as the Sadducees were, nor were they political schemers as the Herodians of Jesus day. Pharisaism was a serious attempt to systematically observe the laws of God, and to separate from ungodliness. However, of all of the known sects of Israel in Judea at the time of Christ, Pharisaism was closest to the theology of Jesus.”

(From “Pastor Bill Randles Blog”)

Think about it.

The Pharisees were the religious leaders during the time that Jesus walked the earth.  They observed the Feast of Dedication as a way of commemorating the Maccabees cleansing and re-dedication of the Temple at a time when the Jews were set free from massive persecution.  They lit candles in honour of the miracle of the light shining for eight days.

hanukkah photo: Hanukkah Wallpaper 1920x1080x300 ppi HAN_WALL_06_zps899f55ee.png

Yet  when Jesus, the fulfillment of the feast, was walking right among them –  they didn’t recognize Him.

While they were lighting the candles in the temple, He who is the Light of the World was walking amongst them in the temple.

While they were commemorating the cleansing of the temple all those years ago, He, who had cleansed the Temple twice in front of them, was there.

While they were celebrating the emancipation from their persecution, they were persecuting the Son of God Himself.

Why?  Because they couldn’t see Him.  For all of their knowledge of the Torah, their good works and their religion, they didn’t recognize their Messiah even when He was right in front of them.  Whilst they were celebrating a feast that pointed to Christ, He was there in their midst and they missed Him.

 “The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[c]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” John 10

Further to not being able to see Him, they also persecuted Him:

“ Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” John 10

As Kevin Conner writes in “The Feasts of Israel:

“They had become worshippers of the Temple but failed to worship the Lord of the Temple.

They kept the Feast of Dedication but sought to stone the One to whom the Temple was dedicated.  Thus they missed Him at another Feast, even as they had at previous Feasts.”

They had external works of the natural – but none of the spiritual

They kept the letter of the law – but had not the spirit of it.

They had the ritual, but not the reality – Jesus Himself!

How easy it could be for us to now say “Tut-tut how could they have missed Him?” But….have we ever done this ourselves?

Do we have a worship of God based on ritual, on the external works of man?  Are we, ourselves, of the letter and not of the Spirit?

Do we actually have the reality of Christ Himself?

And here is a BIG question – Have we actually, amidst our profession of Christ, missed Christ Himself? Or worse still, have we persecuted Him?

As a Christian, we may well wonder whether it is actually possible to persecute Jesus.

The answer is yes.

When Saul was persecuting the Christians, Jesus appeared to him on the Damascus Road.  Notice that Jesus didn’t say “Saul, why are you persecuting my children?”,

No. He said “Saul why do you persecute Me?”

We need to be careful that we don’t persecute Him, by persecuting one of His children

We need to be careful that we don’t reject Him, by rejecting one of His children

Have we ever deliberately withdrawn our fellowship from another believer because they do not conform entirely to our own concepts and viewpoints?

Have we ever slandered other Christians?  Caused division between brothers and sisters?  Have we accused others of having a spirit other than the Holy Spirit?

And…what if we are wrong…?

We need to watch that in our quest to be right we do not miss the Saviour.  What if He were to come to us in a way we did not expect – in a meek and lowly way, in a way of weakness?

What if He were to come to us through someone outcast or poor?  Or how about a mentally- ill person?

What if it were through a Christian whom didn’t conform to our idea of ‘Christian’?

Jesus spoke a lot with the Pharisees. He warned them, spoke honestly to them, because He loved them.  He wanted them to see Him, but they wouldn’t.  If He was the Messiah then they didn’t want Him.  He wasn’t what they were looking for, He didn’t come to them as they expected – so they rejected Him.

No wonder Jesus wept over Jerusalem and said:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”  Luke 13:33-35

This brings us to a very important point:

It is possible to know the Word of God without knowing the God of the Word.

If the Pharisees had truly known God they would have recognized Jesus.  They knew the scriptures, they knew the Law, but Jesus they didn’t know.

Jesus is not separate from His Body, the Church.  So when one of His members is persecuted He takes it personally.  We need to be careful, oh so careful, that we don’t become so full of head-knowledge that we can no longer recognize Jesus nor His Body.  Because in doing so we may become like Saul, like the Pharisees, and persecute the very Lord we profess to follow.

Jesus said, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Mark 7:6

The letter truly kills, but the Spirit gives life.  This Feast of Dedication, let us re-dedicate our lives to Christ Himself, not to a creed, not to a denomination, nor to a set of rules or ideals, but to the Son of God Himself.  Let us live in the light of His illumination and really get to know Him personally.

Once we truly know Him, then we will recognize Him, even in the unexpected.


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Jesus and the Feast of Tabernacles

IMG_2725On Saturday we went as a family to a local Messianic congregation to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot).  It was such a joyous occasion.  Our daughter loves it when we visit this congregation as she loves the Messianic dancing and is always involved.

Messianic dancing

Messianic dancing

At the Feast of Tabernacles, on the Great Day of this 8-day Feast, was a spectacular water drawing ceremony.  Water from the pool of Siloam gushed out and was offered to God as a drink offering.

Jesus attended this Feast and on the Great Day, as the water was gushing He cried out in the Temple:

“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)

IMG_2735

Can you imagine what the people must have thought?  Here was water gushing forth in a joyous celebration of this living-giving fluid.  In the Middle East in the first century water was not always easy to find and so it was symbolic of life and of God’s blessing.  There would have been a procession of people, singing and playing flutes.  And in the midst of this celebration here is Jesus standing in the Temple crying out for people to come to Him and drink.  He promised them mayim chayim – living water.

IMG_2728

So we see that the Feast of Tabernacles, as all of the Jewish Feasts, point to Christ.  In verse 39 John explains that :

“But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy  Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

Blessing the children

Blessing the children

We see that the water gushing forth is a picture of the Holy Spirit.  That the great truth played out by this Feast is that when we put our faith in Jesus and are baptized in His Holy Spirit, rivers of living water will flow from us.

May we all go to Jesus and drink of Him! And may rivers of living water flow from our hearts!

In the name of Yeshua, our Messiah, Amen

Shabbat meal

Shabbat meal


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A Fresh Start – Rosh HaShanah

One year ago I saw with my own eyes that God still moves by His prophetic calendar.  I will relate that experience to you in just a moment.

First I would like to briefly explain that tonight at sundown begins the Feast of Rosh HaShanah, also known as the Feast of Trumpets.  This feast continues until sundown on Friday.

The Feast of Trumpets is believed in Jewish tradition to be the time when God created the heavens and the earth.  It is for this reason that the Jewish Civil year begins on this day.

As Christians I believe it is important to know the Jewish roots of our faith, because they bring life, depth and meaning to our faith.  It is also important to know that God has not finished with national Israel.  Bible prophecy apart from national Israel is meaningless.  The fulfillment of His Feasts affect Israel as well as the Church and God certainly has not done away with His prophetic calendar.

A brief outline of the feasts show that the ministry of Jesus Christ (Yeshua) has fulfilled some  of these at His first coming and will fulfill the remainder at His second coming.

1.  The Feast of Passover – fulfilled

By the death of the Messiah

2. The Feast of Unleavened Bread – fulfilled

By the perfect, sinless life of Yeshua and His blood-offering at His death.

3. The Feast of the First- fruits – fulfilled

By the Resurrection of the Messiah

4. The Feast of Weeks (or Pentecost)  – fulfilled

By the birth of the Church at Pentecost

Following the spring cycle of feasts above, there was a four month period separating the spring from the Autumn feasts.  This interval is the Church Age, which is right now.  This temporarily interrupts God’s program for Israel, as revealed in the Feasts.

5.  The Feast of Trumpets

Yet to be fulfilled by the rapture of the Church.  (1 Corinthians 15:52)

6. The Day of Atonement

Yet to be fulfilled by the Great Tribulation with Israel’s national salvation at the culmination of that period. (Romans 11:26)

7.  The Feast of Tabernacles

Yet to be fulfilled by the setting up of the millennial Messianic Kingdom. (Revelation 21:3)

Now I would like to share a brief testimony of how God still moves by His prophetic calendar.  One year ago exactly, on the first day of the Feast of Trumpets, the first day of the Jewish civil New Year, we had Sunday lunch at our house.  A young man to whom we had been ministering for some years came in that morning.  To my amazement and joy as he approached the table the very first thing he said to us was “I am ready to accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.”  After we had spent some time talking, he ended up on his knees, repented of his sins and gave His life to Christ.

God is good and His mercy endures forever.  It’s the beginning of a New Year.  Take this opportunity to turn to Christ, the Passover lamb slain from the foundation of the world and have your sins washed away by His spotless blood.  He will give you new life in Him.

If you know Christ already, take this opportunity to re-consecrate your life to Him in total obedience and trust.  He will never let you down.

God bless you this Feast of Trumpets season.


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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


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Passover

This year I have been surprised by the strong sense of anticipation I have felt as Passover has drawn near.

While I have been aware for a long time of the eternal truths that shine forth through the feast of Passover, this time it is different. Recently I have come to see that the story of Passover in a striking way reflects my own story. The external truth of the Passover, to me, has become an inward reality.

My Passover story began about six and a half years ago. I had been a church-going Christian all of my life. I loved God and knew He loved me and had guided me throughout my whole life. I lived my life the best that I could and everything had turned out pretty well. I had married a wonderful man, had a lovely baby girl and was really quite happy with my life and with myself. I had no need for anything more and I certainly was not looking to change myself or my life in any way.

Then one day someone gave me a tape-sermon from a fiery old preacher-man and everything changed.

Mainly I listened to the sermon out of curiosity, with absolutely no clue as to the ramifications it would have on my life forever. By the time that sermon was over I was on my knees on the floor. I was in the presence of God and I was borne down under Holy Ghost conviction. What happened that night changed me forever. I saw myself clearly for the first time in my life. For me, a young woman, satisfied with things as they were currently in my life – to be absolutely confronted with the state of my own heart was devastating. My sins were right in front of my face – the things I had done and shouldn’t have done and the things I should have done and didn’t. Not only that, but I also saw that I had inherited a sin-nature from Adam and that there was nothing that I could do about it.

The only way to explain what I experienced (and words cannot do justice) was a death. I was crushed under the weight of my sin. I wept and wept. I was in mourning. An hour before that my life was good and fine, no major issues, all smooth sailing, and now everything was different, I was different. This was not something that could be dismissed or forgotten. I was utterly undone. For the person I was before this to continue to exist was no longer a possibility. In the light of truth there was no option for me but to repent of my sins and cry out to God for His grace and mercy.

And God came to me in mercy. I knew that Jesus had taken the penalty for my sins upon Himself at the cross. That He had already paid for them there and that I was forgiven. I arose from the floor a changed woman. Out of the ashes of that mourning and death God had raised up something different, something beautiful. It was Life in place of death.

From that moment I was different. In all honesty prior to my meeting God face-to-face, I had been rather hard and cold-hearted, although I didn’t see myself that way at the time. I used to say that “I love animals but hate people”. I saw what people did to each other and I hated them for it. (I didn’t really include myself in that category though, I was pretty ok.) I was capable of feeling compassion towards suffering and needy people of course, but to be actually inconvenienced by going out of my way in order to help them, was an irritation to which I would not, nor could not, subject myself. To actually lay down my life for others was a concept so foreign to me that it simply would never have entered my mind. (My husband can attest to the hardness of heart that used to be mine, to my shame).

But now, because I had been “born-again” I was a new creation. I was now a child of God and was full of Him. I became tender-hearted, as He is. I began to reach out to others, as He does. Although I am obviously not perfect, I can honestly say that the total and complete change in the state of my own heart is the biggest proof to me that there is a God, and that He is in the business of changing hearts. I know what I was before, and I know the difference to what I am now. Of course until God exposed the truth of my heart to me I had no idea.

Going back a little at this point, although I was convicted, forgiven and changed that night, I actually continued to struggle under the weight of my now-revealed sin for quite a few months. Whilst I knew that Christ had died for my sin and that God had forgiven me, I still experienced a heavy weight of guilt and I couldn’t seem to be able to walk in the forgiveness for which I knew Christ had died. Whenever I messed up that just added more weight to the guilt. I even came to think that perhaps I was meant to remain in this state. However, once again, God met me in His mercy. He simply revealed to me one night that my sins past, present and future are “under the blood”. He showed me that no amount of fussing or of feeling guilty changes the fact that I am covered by the blood of the Lamb. He actually showed me that guilt was a waste of time and energy because the blood of a righteous Redeemer is what God sees when He looks at me.

In that moment of time, all the burden of my guilt vanished. Now I knew experientially that I was forgiven, I knew that I was free from guilt! A load lifted from me, never to be experienced again. I now walk in the “glorious liberty by which Christ has made (me) free.” And all because of the blood. I could now truly say, as the old hymn:

“’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved”

God said to the Israelites at the very first Passover:

“Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you…” Exodus 12:13

Just as God’s judgment “passed over” the Israelites because they were covered by the blood of the Passover lamb, I too have been covered by the blood of the Lamb, so that I have escaped God’s judgment for sin. The Bible says:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal Life”

About 1300 years after the first Passover lamb was sacrificed in order to redeem Israel from slavery in Eqypt, another Lamb was sacrificed in order to redeem humankind from the bondage of sin. This Lamb was slain on Passover too, crucified on the cross. John the Baptist said of Him: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” He was blemish-less, unleavened by sin and He tasted of the “bitter herbs” of suffering. Jesus, the Son of God, chose to come to earth to be the sacrifice for our sins, in order to redeem us. He was the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” and all because “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

May God bless you with His grace this Passover season!