Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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The Order of Suffering

I went to preach at the Homeless Mission on Saturday night and praise the Lord I had the honour of leading two men to Christ afterwards.

pain
acrylic and pastel

I didn’t know what I was going to talk about, I didn’t know how I was even going to be physically able to preach. My body was aching, exhausted, sore and bandaged.

Late October I woke up one morning with both my hands and feet tingling. This was constant and it covered both my feet and hands, up my ankles and wrists, non-stop. The doctors couldn’t explain it and I could get no answers. Then my back began to hurt. Long story short, I have 5 herniated discs in my back. I have been in constant pain since November. December was the worst when it was highly inflamed and agonizing. I spent most of December horizontal, including Christmas Day.

Why do you allow suffering Lord?

Because that is the order of things at the moment. The order of things is suffering.

Obviously I prayed. Although I don’t know if you’d call it prayer or just non-stop desperate cries for help. I certainly couldn’t get on my knees, I couldn’t even sit, but I non stop cried out to the Lord. That’s pretty much all I could do in December. I had all the usual questions : Why me? What have I done to deserve this? Have you finished with me God? Will I ever be ok again?

In late December I had a dream.

I was walking in a grassy field with my two kids. There in the middle of the field was a huge wooden cross standing upright. I made my way over to it.  As soon as we got close to it the presence of the Lord was thick and strong. The children commented on how strong His presence was. I simply wrapped my arms around the thick, square shaped vertical beam of it and cried my heart out.

In fact I woke myself up crying. I was still in the presence of the Lord when I awoke. I could feel the solid wooden beam in my arms still and the thought foremost in my mind was that Jesus’ nail-pierced feet are so far above me, way up high compared to me.

I have been slowly improving through January until now. Every day I get a little better until…last Friday night I sat down on the couch with a cup of black tea in my hand. As I sat down, focussed on protecting my back, I spilled the whole cup of scalding water in my lap. The pain was intense. I ran straight to the shower/bath.

Though He slay me yet I will trust Him

Job was all I could think about in the bath. Job worshipping God despite his circumstances. I worshipped God in the bath, in the pain.  Eventually I went into shock and an ambulance took me to hospital. Apparently if you burn yourself in an area larger than your hand then as your body tries to cool down the burn, your body temperature drops too far and you can go into shock. In hospital….Second degree burns, potential plastic surgery….

So there I was on Saturday night, in pain, still recovering from my back injury, legs and groin dressed in bandages, moving like an elderly lady, having no idea what I am going to say to these homeless people, to the suffering, the scarred and wounded…..

The order of things is suffering.

Man chose his way and now it must run to completion

Man has to be allowed to run with his independence from God to full growth because He will never impinge on his free will. But man has to see that the way he has chosen will never work.

Suffering will be brought to full-bloom

“Except those days be shortened no flesh shall be saved, but for the elect’s sake God will shorten those days”

Then Christ’s order will be ushered in.

To suffer is to be human. To suffer is to be Christian. It is through many hardships we must enter the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).

But there is One who left the glories of heaven and chose to enter the order of suffering. When Jesus took on human flesh He willingly took on human suffering. And He suffered more than any other human: beaten beyond human recognition, betrayed, abandoned, forsaken by God.

He chose the order of suffering for you and me. He stepped into it and brought us redemption. Not that we won’t have problems and suffering any more as His children and friends, in fact we may have more, but that He will be with us through it all.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;” Isaiah 43:2

The other day my prayers changed. I was lying on the floor asking Him to heal my wounds. I looked at the scars on my leg and suddenly I loved them. I felt great affection for those ugly brown, bubbly burn marks.

They identified me with my Saviour

And I thank Him for them now. I don’t want them to completely go. I want them to stay so I “bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus” (Gal 6:17)

I shared my suffering, pain, wounds and the great, great love of our scarred Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ with the homeless on Saturday. The presence of the Lord was strong as we came together in our suffering and brought two new babes with us to cling to that old rugged cross.

 

Belinda 🙂

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Street Preaching and the Homeless

Friday we went into the city to street preach.  flinders st

Unfortunately my PA didn’t work properly, on every third word or so it would cut out.  So I couldn’t preach as my voice isn’t naturally strong.

But God sent Tony, the homeless man whom we met two times ago.

Tony used his God-given, very loud, male voice to open-air preach. Thank God for men.

Tony has no home, no money, hardly any clothes.  But I tell you what – he is one of the best preachers I’ve ever heard.  Not just one of the best street-preachers, but I mean, any preacher.  That includes pastors, televangelists, you know, the ones who’ve grown rich on Churchianity.

On the street, his home, Tony shares his testimony. He was a drug addict who’d done time in prison.  He was a murderer of the heart.  But one day he met Jesus.  And Jesus changed him.

“You may think I’m crazy!” he cries, “Well I am!  I am crazy for Jesus!”

Praise God for that.

open airWhere are all the pastors, the ministers, the ones who get paid to stand up in front of a nice, middle-class congregation on a Sunday morning?  Where are they?  I have not seen them on the streets.

Instead God is using us, a ragtag bunch of women, and one homeless guy.

“In that day I will assemble the lame and gather the outcasts and those whom I’ve afflicted.  I will make the lame a remnant and the outcast a strong nation.” Micah 4:6

 

Truly God uses the lame, the weak, the outcast.  Btw, of us women:

1 is an ex-muslim, ex-alcoholic, ex-agoraphobic (see From Muhammed to Jesus)

1 is an ex-atheist

1 is an ex-Christian cult

All glory to the Lord Jesus Christ!

 

So Jesus used us outcasts to save “D”, another homeless man, on Friday.  He came up to us and told us he is a thief and a drug addict. No hope for him.  I told him about the thief on the cross.  He said he shot up ice that morning.

Tony sat with him on the ground and talked with him.  He ended up leading him to Christ.

I have rarely seen a more beautiful sight than two homeless guys sitting together talking about the love of God.  One in the love of Christ leading the other to Christ.

“Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread”

(Oh – and the Lord sent me a Christian after we finished on Friday who provided another PA for us! He is a good God.)

Blessings,

Belinda 🙂

 

 


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Missionary Quotations: A.B. Simpson

AB Simpson

AB Simpson

“The chief danger of the Church today is that it is trying to get on the same side as the world, instead of turning the world upside down. Our Master expects us to accomplish results, even if they bring opposition and conflict. Anything is better than compromise, apathy, and paralysis. God give to us an intense cry for the old-time power of the Gospel and the Holy Ghost!”  A. B. Simpson


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100 Years From Now

It will not make much difference, friend, a hundred years from now11219593_10152932989958261_4896805221278485865_n

If you live in a stately mansion or on a river scow;
If the clothes you wear are tailor-made or pieced together somehow,
If you eat big steaks or beans and cake …

A hundred years from now.

It won’t matter your bank account or the make of car you drive,
For the grave will claim all riches and fame and the things for which you strive.

There’s a deadline that we all must meet and no one will be late.
It won’t matter then all the places you’ve been, each one will keep that date.

We will only have in eternity – what we gave away on earth,
When we go the grave, we can only save the things of eternal worth.
What matters, friend, the earthly gain for which some men always bow?
For your destiny will be sealed, you see … a hundred years from now.

By Walden Parker


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It’s OK to be a Home-Maker

It is.

jenbutnotjenn.com

jenbutnotjenn.com

It really is okay to be a homemaker, a housewife, a stay-at-home Mum, whatever you want to call it. I was pondering this as I vacuumed my house today.

I reckon this job is the most denigrated job in the Western world nowadays.

And it is a job. It is hard work with absolutely no financial rewards.

And that is what this world values highly isn’t it? Money. Power and prestige go a long way too.  But generally what the world values and considers important is the opposite to what God values and considers important.

Being a homemaker has none of those rewards. The work one does is generally thankless. There is certainly no prestige to scrubbing toilet bowls and making shopping lists. And power? Good grief – what’s that?

But I will confess – I love it.

Yes I do. I enjoy cleaning up and keeping my house tidy. I enjoy folding washing and putting it away. I take pride in my home and like sharing it with others. I enjoy growing vegies in my garden and the reward of harvesting them. I enjoy buying trinkets and decorative items for our home. Does this make me shallow and materialistic? Maybe. Yet I will continue to like it anyway. I love being there when my kids are home from school. I love being able to help them with homework and listen to readers. (Disclaimer: I do dislike cleaning the shower and ironing, any ironing…)

Am I a martyr?

I don’t think so. I just have zero ambition in the workplace. Absolutely ZERO. Gosh that even sounds wrong to me to admit to that.

The thought of climbing a corporate ladder does not appeal to me. All that effort and energy going into some impersonal corporation – ew. But the thought of putting effort and energy into my family and kids, the idea that I can build something into them by being with them and making their home lovely gives me pleasure.  I AM this kind of “ambitious” when it comes to my family.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with mums who do paid work. I think they are amazing. I honestly don’t know how they do it. I get that the system is set up so that most families can only survive on double incomes. And single mums? I know lots of them and wow, they are quite simply heroes – carrying the burden of everything at once.

stay at homeBut I do want to free up stay-at-home mums. For the last few decades what we do has been cast aside as pathetic, old-fashioned and value-less.

I am here to say that being a homemaker is the exact opposite of that.

It is not pathetic to take pride in your work around the home and with your children. It is a GOOD thing. God’s Word says :

“And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord…” Colossians 3:23

You can be a home-maker and intelligent.  You can be a housewife and contribute to society.  You can be a stay-at-home Mum and be inspired.  What we do is just as important as paid work.

For any stay-at-home mums out there, what you are doing is worth more than a billion dollars. You are creating a loving, caring, clean and lovely home for your family. You are building into your children, time, energy, effort, love and there is no way to measure that value.

Take heart, there is someone who sees your hard work and He will reward you one day.

God bless,

Belinda