All churches have been closed since March here in Victoria, Australia. Seven months now and not a whimper from one church leader. Pathetic.
Yesterday we went to a park and sat outside and had church. There were 20 of us. We spaced out in household groups. I’ll admit not many of us were wearing masks.
We worshipped amongst the trees , my husband and I dedicated a baby and we read the Word.
And then someone called the police.
“Who’s the leader here?” they said as they walked over, fully armed. My husband said we were. I showed them my Bible and said that we are having church.
“It’s illegal” she said “you’re having a mass gathering”.
I asked if I could speak to her aside. She reluctantly agreed and I explained to them both that amongst our group there has been two attempted suicides in the last fortnight.
“It’s no excuse for breaking the law” she said.
“I will have to fine each of you $5000 . I have to, we no longer have discretion”.
Before you judge me as being irresponsible and for not obeying the government, just try to imagine yourself in Melbourne . Please try to imagine being in lockdown since March. Stage 4 lockdown since July. Not allowed to leave our homes 22 hours a day, not allowed to see anyone except one person outside and, up till recently, only if you’re walking. Not allowed to leave a 5km radius of our home. Now we are allowed to actually sit in a park with no more than 5 people total and from a maximum of two households. Masks are mandatory at all times. Most workplaces are closed still. Kids have been out of school for months. Suicides are at an all time high for boys under 18.
And churches are shut.
Peope in other states of Australia cannot even grasp what we have been going through down here and I don’t blame them for that. Nobody should have to live like this. There have been moments where I felt I would lose my mind…But for the grace of God…
Many people have though. A couple who owned a beauty business which has been shut for many months, dropped their two kids off at their grandparents and then went and took their own lives.
And yet we count daily covid cases like they’re the only thing that matters now. For the last three weeks our daily covid cases have been 10-15.
So judge me if you like, tell me I’m being irresponsible but I honestly couldn’t care less. We have been smuggling people in to our home for months. We have been running an underground church. We have cast out demons, we have lead people to Christ and we have baptized people. This week we will be baptizing another in our bathtub.
Tell me, can this Anti- Christ government stop Gods work and Gods kingdom? No.
For those who have told me I should submit to government, I want to ask you, what side would you have been on when the Nazis were in power?
The police didn’t end up fining us $5000 each, thank You Lord, they let us off with a warning after all. Even ended up thanking us for the work we are doing. “Just find a way to do it legally,” they said. That is something I cannot figure out.
Our churches will not be open for months and months here.
About three weeks ago I had a dream that a couple of people were coming to our house for prayer. But when I opened the front door a stream of people came in and kept coming…and coming. All different races of people. I wondered how they knew to come. They said
“We knew you’d be open!”
Our lounge was packed with people and I lifted up my hands and said “No social distancing here!”
The dream ended.
During the lockdown we had been doing a Bible study every morning and two others had been joining us via Messenger. So we just thought now we are “allowed” to have two people come to our house we will just invite them on a Sunday morning to continue this bible study, but now in person.
That was three weeks ago and every week more and more people have come on a Sunday. We have such a blessed time of worship, bible study, prayer and eat lunch together. Yesterday was beautiful. We had guys join us from a Christian halfway house, where they take in men who have come out of jail or rehab and give them a place to live and a job.
The Lord spoke to us about House of Saul versus House of David and the outcasts going to David in the cave at Adullum….
On Friday I said to the Lord “What is going on?” This home-Church thing seems to be taking off at our place FAST, like it’s almost out of our control.
we have literally just opened the doors and people have come.
He gave me this scripture in our family bible study and confirmed It the next day as I was reading the book “Anointed for Burial”
”Go and join this chariot” Acts 8:29
As my friend Tim Shey has said , I think we just need to follow the cloud at the moment guys.
Be willing to do things differently because suddenly all our plans have been interrupted. Like the old thing is dead now. We’ve got to just follow the Lord.
And as my other friend (and spiritual father) Bill Randles has said – the church needs to meet in flesh and blood.
“You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there’s a fire. Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it.” Leonard Ravenhill
May we be filled with the fire of the Holy Ghost !
He’s also asked people to help him feed the baby Christians that had recently come to Christ in his ministry, but they’d also said no. No to bible study…because of the pandemic.
Listen, I’m not advocating for unwisely putting people in harm’s way at this time. I also understand that some people are genuinely fearful of the virus and of copping a fine for being out, and the fines are huge. But also- what the heck?? I can’t help comparing us with the apostles in Acts…what would those who “turned the world upside down” do right now?
“So one came and told them, [f]saying, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!”
Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”
But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” ….
And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for [j]His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” Acts 5
Tonight we sneaked out of lockdown to lead a man to Christ. Ssshhh don’t tell anyone…
This poor guy had been heavily involved in the occult and New Age practices. And as is the always the case with the occult, he was suffering greatly because of it.
If you fool around with the devil he will surely make you pay. Oppression, depression, anxiety, demonic presences and attacks. This guy had literally almost died from an attack.
People coming out of the occult recognize they’ve been deceived and because of the heavy deception they find it difficult to trust what you tell them is not just another deception.
You have to show them who the real Jesus Christ is- born of a Virgin, God in human flesh, lived a sinless life, died on the cross , was buried, rose again 3 days later BODILY. This is important because there are many many false Christ’s and false Jesus’ out there, especially in the New Age, and they always spiritualize Jesus and His resurrection.
There is often fear even to pray in Jesus’ Name because they don’t know which Jesus they are “invoking”. It’s a good idea to tell them at the beginning to pray in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. If they’re still unsure, like someone else I led to Christ had to do for a while, they can pray in the “Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth who died on the cross and rose again 3 days later.”
This is important to them because there is a lot of fear attached to pray to the wrong spirit.
You also need to show them the Ten Commandments, the first two especially, but all of them, and Deuteronomy 18 to expose the awfulness of sin and especially the sins of the occult, sorcery, witchcraft, necromancy, divination, idolatry etc.
I also show them the serpent’s lie in Genesis 3 that man can be as God. This lie is still relevant as most of the new age is seeking to attain to some sort of divinity/enlightenment/godhood.
Tonight this man knew he was a Sinner. He knew he had accessed the spiritual realm illegitimately. He knows he has demons. The demons are messing with him constantly.
But Praise be to God who always leads us in victory in Christ Jesus, once he saw who Jesus was he was willing to repent of his sins.! He came to the only true altar – the cross- and found salvation.
And I tell you as we knelt on the floor with him social-distancing was the last thing on anyone’s minds.
Then he was willing to renounce his occult activities, praise God. And the list was extensive. I know a little of occult activities but I’m always amazed at the stuff that people get involved in, stuff I’ve never heard of. The amount of occult stuff out there is unbelievable.
And Yoga and/or meditation is always involved , usually at the beginning of their dabbling because it’s considered neutral. But Yoga and meditation are not neutral. They are dangerous practices and are often gateways into serious occult practices. For example, every Yoga pose is a specific act of worship to a different “god“.
But how good is God my friends! He is mighty to save! His mercy is so great that He can reach down to save someone’s life , even someone who’d given himself to Satan , and bring him back from the point of almost death to save his soul.
God is truly loving , gracious and GREAT beyond words. And He is still moving right now even in lockdown.
Paul was under house-arrest in Rome for two years. Chained to a prison guard, he couldn’t leave his own home.
“The Rise of A.I.” acrylic and gouache
During his home-imprisonment he asked the Church to pray for him :
“and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that in it I may speak boldly as I ought to speak” Ephesians 6:19, 20 (emphasis mine)
Paul couldn’t go to church, he couldn’t street-preach, he couldn’t go to Synagogue. Paul was physically restricted as soon as he arrived in Rome, and that’s how he stayed for two whole years. But in it, in this very situation Paul was asking for prayer to be able to speak forth the gospel boldly.
Do we think Paul’s situation caught God by surprise? Do we think He did not know that Paul’s arrival in Rome would be under hard circumstances? That His man would not be free to move about as previously? No – it was in to this very situation that God brought Paul, and thus the gospel, to Rome.
At that time Rome was becoming the centre of the world’s wealth. The art, the artists, the architects were moving there as it became recognised as the world’s most cosmopolitan city. This place was of diverse culture, containing many different beliefs and ideas. In some ways it was advanced, as in the case of women’s rights. It was to this worldly city that God chose to send His man, chained and bound to one small house.
God’s strategy to evangelise a whole city was through a man bound to his own home.
Paul may have been restricted, but never is the Gospel of Jesus Christ restricted!
Never will it be restrained.
God still used Paul, even chained to a prison-guard, unable to leave his own home. One man, in one house, but in that one house God brought revival to Rome.
“So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.” Acts 28:23
Do we think this Covid-19 pandemic has caught God by surprise? Do we think He had no idea all the churches would be shutdown and outlawed? Of course He knew. And it is into this very situation that He has called us.
The gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be stopped, no matter if our church buildings are shut. The gospel will go forth.
The gates of hell will never prevail against His Church! It’s time to recognise that this is how God has chosen to use us for this season. God’s plans are not being stymied by the enemy, God is still Sovereign and from the Throne He has decreed that right now this is how His church will go forth.
Without high-tech sound systems, church buildings and programs, once again from the simplicity of our homes! Prayer with our families, Bible studies online, prayer in the closet. Could this be God’s plan…?
We have the internet, social media, telephones. We can walk around our neighbourhoods, dropping leaflets in letterboxes. We have many ways we can answer God’s call from our homes:
““Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”
Who will join me in saying “Here I am Lord, send me!”
“Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.” Acts 28:30,31
Most Christians are aware that we are justified only by grace through faith, yet a lot tend to mix Law and Grace in sanctification.
That is, they believe that once they are saved by grace, they then need to keep to some sort of code of conduct to remain saved, be it the Ten Commandments, their own set of rules or their church’s. The church where I grew up had written rules and regulations for everything under the sun. There were also unspoken rules that everybody knew, such as, getting to both services on a Sunday was a must, otherwise you would be considered weak in the faith by everybody else.
Thus often a Christian is still under the Law even though he can easily quote “I’m not under law but under grace”.
We need to understand that Law and Grace are two complete systems in themselves, and they are mutually exclusive of each other. You cannot be under both Law and Grace at the same time, neither can you mix Grace with Law. This was the error of the Galatians. But what did Paul say to them :
”O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” Galations 3:1-3
Under grace our acceptance with God is based on the fact that we are in Christ by faith and He is acceptable to God. How we live after being saved is also by grace. He saves us and He sanctifies us, there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. We live now not by rules and regulations but by a new principle : the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:2)
That means that Christ lives His life through us. It is His righteousness , not ours.
”and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness , which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” Philippians 3:9
Jacob’s life in the Old Testament is a picture of dispensational truth. As we know, his life was far from perfect, yet God still used it to teach us some eternal truths about God’s program for both Israel and the Church.
Remember: The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed. The New Testament sheds light on the Old Testament. And the New is concealed in the shadows of the Old – it is hidden, but it is there for those who like to search for hidden treasure.
God’s Program: Israel & The Church
Christ came the first time to Israel and was rejected by those He came to save
They have been set aside for a time
He is now calling out a Gentile Bride, the Church
After she is called out, He will return again to Israel
This time He will be their Saviour, Deliverer and Lord
Then He shall establish His kingdom on earth
And every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord of all
God made a covenant with Abraham:
“Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Genesis 22:15-18
Then the covenant was confirmed to Isaac and Jacob
Abraham —› Isaac —› JacobIsrael
(God changed Jacob’s name to “Israel”). Israel had 12 sons, which became the 12 tribes of Israel: Asher, Benjamin, Dan, Ephraim, Gad, Isaachar, Judah, Levi, Mannaseh, Naphtali, Rueben, Simeon, Zebulun
God’s promises were made to Israel
Sometimes the Church forgets that the New Covenant was made to Israel & Judah:
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, whenI will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34 (emphasis mine)
But Israel rejected their Messiah, as prophesied in Isaiah 53, so God turned to the Gentiles
““And now the Lord says, Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, So that Israel is gathered to Him (For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, And My God shall be My strength), Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” Isaiah 49:5, 6
“I will call them My people who were not My people and her beloved, who was not beloved” Romans 9:25
“Blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” Romans 11:25
So now the Gentiles are being brought in to the New Covenant that God made with Israel. As Gentiles we are as branches from a wild olive tree, being grafted in to the Jewish olive tree, ie the New Covenant that God made with the House of Judah and Israel. We are grafted in by faith in the Messiah Christ Jesus. (see Romans 11:16-24). By faith He is making “one new man”, that is His Bride/the Church, from both Jew and Gentile believers.
“He is For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” Ephesians 2:14-16
However God has not finished with Israel “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love…” Jer 31:3
Which leads to …
Jacob & His Two Wives
Jacob here is a picture of Jesus Christ:
The Type : Jacob
The Anti-Type : Christ Jesus
Jacob chosen by God, even though 2nd born son
Christ is the Second Adam
Esau forfeited his birthright, it passed to Jacob
Adam forfeited his birthright. God sent the second Man who is to receive the birthright of the firstborn Son of God: ie the dominion of the earth
Jacob was hated by his brother Esau
Christ was hated by His brethren
He was driven in to exile in a far country
Jesus left His Father’s house and came to earth
Jacob was treated badly in a far country, became as a servant
Christ came as a bond-servant in human form and was crucified
He married a bride in a far country
Christ purchased His bride with His shed blood in the far country ie the earth
Then returned to claim his possession / inheritance
Christ will come again to claim His possession/ inheritance, the earth
Jacobs Two Wives, Rachel & Leah
Jacob chose Rachel first. He laboured for her. But at the end of his labour he didn’t receive her, he received a different bride, Leah.
He then served 7 more years for Rachel.
But second bride Leah was fruitful and bore Jacob many children. Rachel was barren: until she cried out to God in distress.
Jacob chose Rachel first but she was set aside for a time while Leah bore many children and took her place.
Rachel = Israel
Leah = the Church
Israel today is barren and the Church is fulfilling the purposes of God. However when the Church is taken up in the rapture, then the Lord will deal with Israel again, in the Tribulation. It is when Israel cries out to God in distress that she will too become fruitful and many will turn to Jehovah through the instrument of Israel.
“…that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Israel); for this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins’.” Romans 11:25-27
“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.
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