Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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Wisdom From my Homeless Friend Shaz

“You tell me this”, said Shaz* as we sat over coffee, “You tell me: if there was a homeless person lying in the gutter, would it be a Christian or a druggie that stopped and helped him?  It would be the druggie every time.”

The parable of the Good Samaritan came to mind.  And I knew she was right.

I said “I agree with you Shaz.”

That stopped her for a second.

We had met for a coffee, but when we got there she refused to have one. Said she’s not paying that amount for a coffee.  I offered to buy her one but she refused that as well.  So I drank my coffee and she sat opposite me with nothing.  Instead she had the sugar bowl.  With a spoon she stirred and stirred as she spoke.  The constant stirring was mesmerising and I had to tear my eyes away from it.  Also it was easier than looking in to her tormented eyes the whole time.

But when I agreed with her, she stopped stirring for a second and said,

“Ha – we agree on something. What do we do now?”

Shaz’s and my relationship isn’t an easy one.  To be honest, I have no idea how to handle her.  And that’s something I constantly say to the Lord, believe me.

Before Shaz, I thought I was pretty experienced with all sorts of people.  When we had our home church for the outcasts there were times where we had seven heroin addicts sitting around our table at once for lunch.  We have had neo-nazi’s in our home, murderers, profoundly mentally disturbed people, lonely people, homeless ones, ice addicts, people I met while street preaching, whoever God sent.  They were difficult and God always gave us grace for each one.

I first met Shaz in March.  I preached at the homeless mission in the city and she was there.  Full of anger, bitterness, hard, cold as anything, she told me what her father had done to her from a terribly young age.  She asked me how God could forgive someone like that if he repented.  And why would she want to go to a place (heaven) where that animal might possibly be? She spat at me that nobody has been able to help her, even Christians.

As I listened to her story my heart broke.  And she was right too, I didn’t know how to help her. What the heck do I say to this woman who had been so wounded by the one who should have protected her?  ‘Oh God’, I cried out in my heart, ‘help me!  I don’t know what to do! I don’t know what to say to her.’

I didn’t know what to do, so I just put my arms around her little body, my head on her shoulder and cried.  I sobbed. I said I am so, so sorry that this happened to you and I was. I cried and cried as she stood there silent, as stiff as a board while I wet her shoulder with my tears.

Then she moved away from me and I heard her swearing and cursing as she left.  I said to God that I am sorry I failed.  I couldn’t get through to her and I had no idea how to help her.

Two weeks later she was back at the mission.

She came over to me and said roughly, “the compassion you showed me that other night saved my life.  I was going to go home and neck myself but after I met you I didn’t want to anymore.”

Then she swore and cursed Christians and left.

And pretty much that has been our relationship since.  She clings to me, she pushes me away.  She seeks me out, she runs and hides.  Like a puppy who’s been abused and is scared of being hurt again.  One time she came up behind me at the mission and hugged me.  She literally clung to me.  The anointing and love of the Holy Spirit came upon me so strongly that I just cried and prayed in tongues while I hugged her back.  And she clung and clung.  Then she ran out of the building.

As we sat at coffee that morning she cursed and called me a hypocrite. Everything I said to her was wrong, and she told me off the whole time.  It was exhausting.

I left feeling like I had failed, yet there was an inexplicable joy in my spirit.

Two days later in the mail I got a card from Shaz in child-like, painstakingly neat handwriting saying that she can’t tell me this to my face but I am the only true friend she has ever had and that she loves me.

She said she doesn’t know how to be with “normal” people and that is why she hangs out with the street-people.

I cry for these ones. These ones who haven’t known love.

Not long after this we visited a local Baptist church, a good and decent church we sometimes go to.  The pastor explained that they want to build a bigger auditorium to be able to seat more people at once to cut down on the number of services over weekends.  To do this they are raising $2 million to replace the perfectly good auditorium they already have.  I looked around and I knew that they would get that $2 million.

I cry for the church.

 

 

*not her real name


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The Church is Busy with its Programs While Christ is Outside of it

Much of what is missing in the organized Church today is the work, or move, of the Holy Spirit.

We totally underestimate the Spirit of God and what He can do if we let Him.

We have over- organized and created programs for this and that instead of seeking God and letting Him lead by His Spirit.

God has a will, an opinion, a way but we don’t even recognize that fact anymore.

I often feel like the organized church is a slave mill: keeping people over- busy, working them in to the ground, churning out program after program- and what for? “There is a way that seems right to man but the end of it is death”.

God Himself has a way. It is by His Spirit. It is the centrality of Christ. The Spirit of God when He is working will always point to and exalt Jesus Christ. If Christ is not center, if He’s not there, then it is a work of the flesh. Get rid of it! Stop wasting everyone’s time, repent and seek God’s face.

We often use this scripture “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev 3:20) as an evangelistic tool. But it’s not. Jesus said this to the CHURCH in Laodicea. He was outside the church. Pushed outside His own church because He wasn’t needed anymore, “we have a program”!!

Lord have mercy, wake up your church.

amen

 

 


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Anointing VS Enthusiasm

You can be enthusiastic without being anointed. Don’t confuse the two.

God pours His Spirit out where Christ Jesus is exalted.

If someone gets up to preach and exalts himself- no matter how inspiring the message, no matter how much he has done for the Lord- rather than exalting Christ , then that is not of the Holy Spirit.

It is always the flesh versus the Spirit. Flesh will exalt Self. The Spirit will exalt Christ.

There is a trend to put down doctrinal truth nowadays – ‘God is not doctrine, He is bigger than that’. Let’s just talk about experiences.

Yes there is absolutely a place for sharing testimonies and stories about what God has done or is doing.

The problem is when doctrinal truth is thrown away then so is the exaltation of Christ. It becomes all about Self. My experience, my exploits. Me, me, me. Thus there is no witness and no anointing of the Spirit. Give me a person who knows the Word of God, and thus the God of the Word, any day over someone who is simply enthusiastic about what they’re going to do for the kingdom.

You will find that it is the one who seriously and deeply seeks the God of the Word, who it is that really knows Him and that that is the one that shall be strong and do exploits.

God bless,

Belinda


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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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How to be Sensitive to the Spirit of God

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

“The Lord God has given Me

source: catechismway.blogspot.com

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

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

He awakens my ear to hear as the learned”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hearing in the Spirit Leads to Speaking Forth in the Spirit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings!

 

 


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Roll Upon the Lord Thy Way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings!

Belinda 🙂


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How to Preach in the Spirit

On Saturday night I preached at an inner-city mission. And praise the Lord a prostitute was saved!

After all these years of street-preaching and never being invited to preach anywhere, I have actually been invited to preach monthly at this inner city Mission for the homeless and disadvantaged.Image result for picture of the prostitute jesus

The thing is I don’t know how to do “normal” preaching. I can’t get three points and then a conclusion and stand behind a pulpit.

As part of my Chaplaincy course I’ve just been reading an essay on how to be an “Effective Communicator” as a preacher.  Even though this article does make some valid points, I find it rather sad that it is all about how to get your points across, how to make sure the audience remembers what you’ve said, how to be an effective communicator etc etc.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t seem to come into it at all – it’s all fleshly business-speak.  In these days of downloadable sermons and effective sound-bytes there is a need for anointed preaching again. For goodness sake let’s get back to the power of the Holy Spirit!  So here’s my “how-to” list to preach in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Preaching in the Spirit

  • Be in an intimate relationship with Jesus. If you’re not, then please don’t preach.  Really.
  • Be constantly in the Word.  It just needs to be a part of you.
  • Check your heart. If there’s anything between you and God deal with it immediately.
  • Cry. Yes, weep. This is hugely important.  Weeping is the key to the anointing.  This is something that cannot be forced, so ask God to break you for the sins of the people you will be preaching to. Preaching should ALWAYS come from a place of brokenness but it usually never does, and that’s why power in preaching is so rare these days.
  • Ask Him for His heart, for His burden, for what He wants to say.   Even if you only get one scripture from Him it is enough. It is better to preach that one verse for 5 minutes if it’s from His heart than to preach for 30 minutes from your flesh.
  • Yield yourself to Him and His will. Ask Him to have His way in you and for you to be a vessel for Him.
  • Pray before you go: For Him to fill you with His Spirit; for the people’s hearts to be prepared; for the Spirit to preach through you right into the spiritual realm. You will need to resist the devil – all his methods, his agents, his interruptions, anything he would seek to do to disrupt or interfere with God’s message being delivered.
  • Cry again.
  • Thank God for the victory we have in Christ Jesus.
  • Go in Holy Ghost boldness, knowing it’s not about you, but about Him.

I preached Isaiah 1:18 on Saturday night: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”

The Holy Spirit had impressed upon me that it was all about being honest with God, calling a sin a sin.  So that’s what I preached. Afterwards there was a time of ministry and the prostitute came to me and we cried together and she was saved, praise the Lord. The pastor said at the end of the night that there had been a shift in the Spirit tonight, that there was a new honesty and people were being real.

And that’s the point: a shift in the spiritual realm. T Austin Sparks called it “preaching to the back of things.”

Preaching to the flesh is a waste of time. The flesh cannot receive the things of the Spirit. People may feel inspired in the emotional realm for a while, but nothing changes.  No, we must preach to the back of things. We preach to the angels, the devils, to the spirit of man, to Christ Himself. And that’s when things happen.

I’m happy to answer any questions about this article!

Blessings,

Belinda :0)