Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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Preaching the Kingdom and a Stolen iPhone

While I was preaching at the homeless mission on Saturday night my mobile phone was stolen.

It was an iPhone and contained my life on it – emails, access to this blog, photos, contacts etc. I saw the young lady touch my phone and I knew in my spirit that she was going to take it, but while I preached it didn’t even concern me, it simply left my mind.

But when I had finished it hit me that she had disappeared and so had my phone. And then I got annoyed, frustrated and concerned. Identity-theft, violation of privacy, indignation at her audacity all these thoughts and emotions were swirling around in my mind while I searched for her within the building and outside, all in vain.

And the other thing in my mind: that I was already being tested on the very thing I had just finished preaching about. I had spoken about broken-ness being the qualification in God’s kingdom for ministry. God’s breaking of the power of the flesh, the crucifixion of it. How He wants us to no longer react from the soulish realm, the realm of emotion and intellect, but instead to walk in the Spirit and live in His kingdom of love, forgiveness and mercy.

So we traced my phone by GPS and saw that she had walked down the road about 10 minutes and got onto a train. After that we lost trace of her.

I was mad, I won’t deny it. How dare she steal my phone? I was also mad at myself. Why didn’t I retrieve my phone when I saw her touching it?

I tried to call my stolen phone three times and she ignored it. She sent a message to one of my contacts telling them to tell me that I am not getting my phone back. I began to imagine all sorts of revenge scenarios.  What I would say to her had I the chance! Thank God He didn’t let me talk to her then.

One of the things I had just preached about was how the natural man wants revenge and to “get his own back”.

I went home and changed all my passwords on everything. Then I sent her a message. A message to my own phone which was now hers. I knew her name because we had chatted before she stole my phone.

I told her that I forgave her for breaking my trust and stealing my phone. I told her I prayed she would find peace and blessed her and I shared the gospel with her over text. I prayed that God would convict her and bring her into His kingdom.

The next day we disabled the stolen phone and I got a new phone. Because the old phone was disabled I was now able to re-use my old number. That’s when the phone calls began.

A blocked number rang the first time and I answered. It was a guy asking who I am? I wouldn’t tell him but asked who he was. Then cursing and obscenities down the phone from him and a female in the background. I hung up. They rang back, my husband answered this time.

“Tell Belinda she’s not getting her phone back….” Then he told me husband all sorts of lies about me. Cursing and obscenities again.

They proceeded to ring all through the evening and even through the night. We obviously stopped answering the phone and rang the police. They advised me to change my number, which I have now done.

All I can say is that the devil was obviously very stirred up and was trying to provoke a fleshly reaction from me. If I had given in to it surely it would have been a defeat. But if we react in the kingdom way, of love and forgiveness, of blessing those who curse us, of praying for those who spitefully use us, then we will always have the victory over the works of darkness!

Blessings! 🙂

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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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God is a God of Encouragement

I didn’t want to go street preaching today. I actually couldn’t think of

IMG_4760

Property of graceandtruth.me watercolour, pencil, conte on board

anything less I’d rather do. I felt so oppressed, almost like I had been drugged. I had to go though, if only to show Metro-man that he hadn’t won and pushed us out of the area by calling the police on us last time. I wondered though if this may be the last time I went in.

This is how my brain was working this morning. Oh God, I’m going strictly in obedience to You and the vision You gave me. Please give me some encouragement. I can’t do it without You.

….I can never do it without You….

My friends, I am here to tell you that God is a God of encouragement. He knows when we need it.

My tactic when I get into the city (after prayer together) is always to immediately begin to preach. This is because if I wait and consider the people I will be preaching to, there is a danger I will chicken out altogether.

So I preached the gospel. The full gospel.   And the oppression I’d felt all morning was immediately broken.

God one by one sent other Christians to us to encourage us. One guy was a homeless man called Tony who lives by faith. I tell you what this guy was full of the Holy Spirit and knew the Bible inside out. He said this morning he prayed that he could somehow preach the gospel.

There’s the microphone, I said.

Tony preached. He shared that he was a former drug addict and murderer (of the heart) but Jesus had found him and pulled him out. It was amazing.

Another young guy with a guitar came and encouraged us. He is also a street-preacher/singer.

Then another guy came over to us. He was a vision impaired man in a scooter who sings gospel songs on the bridge. He said that nobody preaches the whole counsel of God anymore and was encouraged himself that we were actually preaching repentance from sin, hell, God’s coming judgment as well as the gospel of Christ and the love of God.

Well then he got on the microphone and preached too. Then off he went and came back and blessed us with McDonalds for lunch for all of us.

God certainly provides for His children.

God used a homeless man, a blind man and a young man to bless and encourage us today. And I believe that they in turn were also blessed. God is good God. So very, very good. We must always remember that. He is faithful, ever faithful and He always, always, always honours the preaching of His Word.

Needless to say, that is NOT the last time I will be going to the streets. I am back baby.

The lines from this old Christmas carol was the theme God gave me to preach on today:

“Hark the Herald Angels sing,

‘Glory to the newborn King!’

Peace on earth and mercy mild

God and sinner reconciled

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20

 

 


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Jesus and the Door to the Holy Place

The Tabernacle of Moses contained three doors:Tabernacle

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

It will come as no surprise to the student of the Word that each door represents Christ Jesus Himself, He whom called Himself “the Door”.

“I am the door, whoever enters through me will be saved.” John 10:9

It’s all about Jesus. The study of the Tabernacle is simple when you realise it is all a testimony to God’s beloved Son. It is also a teaching tool He has given us to show us many wonderful truths about Christ and about us, the Church.

Previously we have looked at the Gate and the furniture in the Outer Court of the Tabernacle: the Brazen Altar and the Brazen Laver.

moses tab- revised

Now we will look at the Door, which was the barrier between the Outer Court of the Tabernacle and the Holy Place.

 

 

 

 

Contrast Between the Door and the Veil

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

 

Materials of the Door

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

Five pillars supported the Door. These were made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold. The sockets for the door were made of brass.

 

Significance of the Materials

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

  • The Five Pillars

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

So we see that the five pillars point to Christ.

“He….upholds (the door) Himself as He invites every qualified person to enter for priestly privileges.” Portraits of Christ in the Tabernacle, Theodore H Epp.

Five is the number of grace.

In the Outer Court brass is the main material used, as seen in the Brazen Altar and Laver (brass signifying God’s judgment). However in the Holy Place it is a very different case. Gold is used extensively in the Holy Place and here, in the pillars of the Door accessing the Holy Place, we see for the first time the use of gold.

  • The Fabric

White fine linen- a picture of Christ’s righteousness

Blue – His heavenly nature

Scarlet – His sacrifice

Purple – His Kingly nature

  • The Brass Sockets

Brass always signifies God’s judgment and is used only in the Outer Court of the Tabernacle.

Remember that we are at the point in between the Outer Court and the Holy Place.  So while the five pillars point to Jesus in His dual-nature of God and Man, they also point to judgment (brass) and grace (five). There was only one place where God’s judgment and His mercy/grace met – and that is the cross of Jesus Christ.

As we saw in the study of the Brazen Altar, Christ took the judgment for our sin upon Himself at the cross. So now as we pass through this Door into the Holy Place we see once again that the only way to enter fellowship with God is through the atoning work of His Son at Calvary.

“I am the Way…..No one comes to the Father but through me.”

To approach the Father is only possible through the one Door, Jesus Christ.

 

The Purpose of the Door

doorImagine standing at the Brazen Altar or the Laver in the Outer Court and looking up at this Door. The brilliant colours of the fabric intricately woven together, the sunlight catching the light on the gold of the pillars holding up the fabric. Surely the beauty of that door would have caused the average Israelite to catch their breath and wonder what was beyond. The gold hinted at the beauty of the fellowship available to the priests beyond the door.

But the average Israelite would never enter the Holy Place. The door shut off the Holy Place from the Outer Court of the Tabernacle. While the Israelites were free to come into the Outer Court to bring offerings, it was only the priests who were allowed to enter the Holy Place to minister to the Lord and for fellowship with Him.

Primarily though, in contrast to the Veil, the Door was a place of entrance, but only for those qualified – the priests.

 

The Priesthood

Twice daily the priests entered the Holy Place through this door to tend the lamps of the Golden Lampstand, to burn incense on the Golden Altar and to eat of the bread from the Table of Shewbread.tabernacleholyplacerose

However today we are in the New Covenant and the Bible says that all believers today are a “royal priesthood” (1Peter 2:9).

So we now have the privilege of entering through the Door (Jesus Christ) into the presence of God for fellowship. Once our relationship has been established through our faith in the finished work of Christ at Calvary (the brazen Altar) and we have been cleansed by the Word (the brazen Laver) we do not have to stay shut out in the Outer Court wondering about the beauty of the Holy Place. We each have the privilege and responsibility of entering into fellowship with God in the Holy Place.  We each have the joy of moving onward from the brass (judgment) of the Outer Court, where Jesus took the judgment for our sins, and into the gold of getting to know our wonderful Saviour.

The priests daily entered into the Holy Place for fellowship with God. It may be asked – do we also enter the Holy Place daily for fellowship with God?

Are we still out in the Outer Court or have we moved forward into fellowship with God?

 

The next few posts will be focussed on the furniture of the Holy Place and the wonderful truths they convey:

  • The Golden Lampstand

    source: blog.ninapaley.com

    source: blog.ninapaley.com

  • The Golden Altar and
  • The Table of Shewbread.

 

 


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God’s Victories Look Like Defeats

In Suffering: According to the Pattern, we saw that Calvary is the pattern. And if we are God’s child He will deal with us according to the pattern.

“That is the strange lesson we all have to learn, and Calvary is the pattern of it from beginning to end. God’s victories look like defeats. It is victory in the unseen realm while one is apparently, absolutely down and out in the visible.” Prayer and Evangelism, Jessie Penn-Lewis (emphasis mine).

Therefore if Calvary is the pattern, then we know that the pattern is of suffering because we know that Christ our Lord and

sacredsharingsforthesoul.blogspot.com

sacredsharingsforthesoul.blogspot.com

Saviour suffered.  Conversely we also know that if the pattern is of Calvary, then the pattern is also of victory because we know that through suffering our Lord was greatly victorious.

If we are the disciples of Jesus Christ, then we will too be greatly victorious in Him. However, it is through suffering that the victory will be won. This was true of Paul, of Peter and of all the apostles. And it is true of us too.

“The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” Luke 6:40

We know the story of Peter denying Christ thrice. We know that Jesus, in His mercy, sought Peter out after the resurrection and restored him. The interesting thing is that once Jesus had restored Peter, He prophesied over him. Jesus foretold to Peter the actual pinnacle of his life for God – the very event that would bring the greatest glory to God.

It is interesting to note that Jesus’ prophesy excluded the fact that Peter was to be always happy, healthy and eventually own his own private jet. Why is that? Surely that would bring God the most glory! No, rather, what Jesus told Peter was something according to the pattern:

“’Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish’. This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”” John 21:18, 19 (emphasis mine)

Peter was to glorify God by being crucified!

How could this bring glory to God? This really goes against the grain of our own thinking….

But remember: God’s victories look like defeats.

deny selfConsider for a moment this man, Peter.  He had fearfully denied Jesus over and over again in order to preserve his own life and avoid the agony and humiliation of the cross. Could it be possible that this man would one day be so given to Christ, so full of the Holy Spirit that the fear of pain and death, the fear of the loss of his reputation would be so victoriously overcome that he would eventually take up his cross and follow Christ?

Jesus knew that the one thing Peter wished to avoid the most was the very thing that would bring God the most glory!

You see, Self is always trying to preserve Self (ie. Self-preservation). Self, or the “flesh”, cries out for comfort, for ease, for safety, to be liked and accepted. Feed me! Please me! Preserve me above all else! It is only when the power of the flesh has been broken that it is able to come under the dominion of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately the flesh in man is strong. So strong that it usually takes the rod of suffering to break its strength throughout a lifetime.

The flesh was also strong in Peter. He was, of course, no different from the rest of us, and yet this man was eventually crucified for the glory of God. What happened in-between his restoration by Christ and his death that effected this transformation? The answer is : the Holy Spirit.

It is “…Christ in you the hope of glory” Colossians 1:27 (emphasis mine).

It is God’s ultimate purpose to conform us to the image of His Son. It is God’s will to work His Son in us by His Spirit. Contrary to what we may imagine, God isn’t a dispensary, dishing out to our flesh an ounce of love, a pound of patience etc in order to improve it. This would be futile. Why? Because judgment has been pronounced on the flesh and now it must die. Our only hope is God coming to live in us by the power of His Spirit. God doesn’t give us more love and more patience, but what He does is work in us His very Son. Christ’s nature is loving, truthful, patient and kind and so the more of Christ that has been worked in us, the more His nature will naturally shine through us. In order for this to be able to happen the flesh will have to be crucified. And that’s always going to be painful.

God’s victories look like defeats.

We think of victory as our lives always being smooth and easy. We believe when we are happy and healthy we are being blessed and when we are sad or sick, we are not so blessed. Perhaps we have done something wrong? But God’s perspective is totally different. His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts higher than our thoughts.

Key Point: If God’s purpose is to conform us to the image of His Son, then whatever happens in our lives to achieve that end is victory.

Be encouraged that God has a much greater purpose than we can see at this time. What you and I are currently facing is intended to bring death to Self in order to allow the Spirit of life to work in us. If we yield to His hand He will bring forth a great victory in us and through us. And God will be glorified.

Next post ….. From Confinement to Enlargement


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Suffering: According to the Pattern

th2VB52JDDI have asked God about suffering, especially lately. I have read and studied the Word. I certainly do not know the answer to it all, not even close. But one thing I have noticed is that the Church, in general, seems to no longer teach on suffering nor sanctification.

Why?

In this generation there is so much suffering, look at the situation in Nepal for example.  There are so many trials, battles and griefs that one would logically assume that the Church would be teaching volumes on this subject in order to bring hope, comfort and direction. However the opposite seems to be true. Instead of solid teaching in this area there seems to be a proliferation of the Health, Wealth and Prosperity false gospel.

So I have felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to do a little series on suffering and sanctification. I would like to share with you some of what I have learned through my own hard experiences in order to “strengthen the souls of the disciples, (and) exhort (you) to continue in the faith…” Acts 14:22

According to the Pattern

“That is the strange lesson we all have to learn, and Calvary is the pattern of it from beginning to end. God’s victories look like defeats. It is victory in the unseen realm while one is apparently, absolutely down and out in the visible.” Prayer and Evangelism, Jessie Penn-Lewis (emphasis mine).

The pattern is suffering. And if we are God’s child He will deal with us according to the pattern.

When Christ died on the cross it seemed that evil had triumphed. Isaiah 53:3,4 says:

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces

source: mudpreacher.org

source: mudpreacher.org

from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:

yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”

Through His great suffering and death it seemed that all hope was lost and that Satan had triumphed. But this was only how it seemed in the natural realm. This is how it looked to human eyes. In reality, the cross was the place of Christ’s ultimate triumph over death, hell, sin and the devil. Sinners are delivered from sin, Satan must relinquish a captive, death is overcome and hell loses one more inhabitant – because of the cross.

What seemed so despicable, so contemptible, so utterly humiliating was the place of total and complete victory. As believers our eyes have been opened to the victory of Christ’s death and of course His subsequent resurrection. But to unbelievers the preaching of the cross is still regarded as meaningless foolishness.

Definition of

Definition of “Pattern”: a regular and intelligible form or sequence discernible in the way in which something happens or is done

And so is suffering. To the world suffering is meaningless, utterly contemptuous and something to be avoided at any cost. But as Christians, once again, our eyes are opened.  Just as we see Christ’s sufferings were for an eternal purpose, so we need to see that once we are God’s child, so too are our sufferings. We don’t need to suffer for our own sins, Christ has done that once for all, but there is always a purpose to the suffering of a child of God. It is easy just to see the immediate circumstances before us, but God is interested in eternal values.

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:17

And because of the cross, there is always a victory.

Next post…. God’s Victories Look Like Defeats


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What I Learnt from an Imposter

maguires.movies.blogspot.com

maguires.movies.blogspot.com

I met him on the street and shared the gospel with him. Weeping bitterly on the street, not caring who saw him, he seemed to genuinely repent of his sins. The next time I saw him he seemed completely different, happy, in control. To me that demonstrated the “fruit” of true salvation.

How wrong I was.

One may wonder if it is even possible that somebody could pretend to be a Christian. Yes, it’s definitely possible. Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:13

“But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived”.

So here are some things that I learnt from 4 confusing, consuming months with an imposter:

  • That it is so important to be able to recognize other people after the Spirit, rather than according to the flesh. 2 Corinthians 5:16.

 

  • That we need to be able to test the spirits. (1 John 4:1) Even though someone may have amazing “revelations”, quote scripture, do all the right things, seem spiritual, this can all be a facade. We need to listen to the Spirit. Is there a check in our spirit regarding this person? Ask God for the gift of discernment.

 

  • Never to put any human being EVER before my own children (yes, sadly I had to learn this lesson)

 

  • To listen to my husband and my father, especially because they are Christians. Sadly, as Eve was deceived by Satan, it does seem to be easier for women, in general, to be deceived than men.

 

  • That my desperation to see “results” of my work in the gospel had opened the door to the enemy.  Christ should always be the centre – not our ministry, not results, not fruit.

 

  •  That I should not be too quick to trust, but at the same time, not become hard and cynical.  Trust needs to be earned.

 

  • That the devil seeks to consume us. Consume time, energy, spiritual life, emotional well-being. Any way he can destroy us through exhaustion/burn out he will attempt it.

 

  • That God is not the author of confusion nor disorder, but of peace. (1 Corinthians 14:33). If there is confusion, disorder, if things seem to becoming undone and out of control then the situation is not of Him.

(On this note, God gave me a dream around this time:

In the dream I invited a new friend to my home I believed to be

maniacworld.com

maniacworld.com

spiritual.  Suddenly and unexpectedly this friend started throwing furniture around my home. It was scary, confusing and out of control. This is exactly what the devil will do if you give him right of access in any way.) 

  • That an imposter can have a lying spirit and so will tell you things that they can’t possibly know without some sort of supernatural help. What this guy told me I thought was from God, when his source was actually Satan.

 

  • That because God knew my heart was sincere towards Him  and that because I really did seek God’s will for my life, God did not let the situation go any further or for any longer than He had pre-determined according to His sovereign will. In a period of 48 hours God exposed the lies and deception of the imposter completely and entirely.

 

  • That God is kind. I mean really so KIND. Even when we make mistakes and mess things up. He was so gentle with me during this time, especially during the period that He removed the veil of deception from my eyes. By this time my body was steeped in physical exhaustion, my emotions were all over the place and my faith was flagging. God knew, and He was oh-so gentle with me. He upheld me and I will never, ever forget His gentle kindness towards me – His imperfect, erring servant.

 

  • That God is still in control in the chaotic situations of our lives – IF we are truly yielded to Him.

 

  • That God used this situation to teach us so much. Discernment, wisdom, knowing others after the Spirit can unfortunately only be learned through hard-experience.

 

The hard and confusing thing about this situation was that we really did love this guy. We sincerely wanted to see him saved. We truly wanted to be used of God. We had a zeal for God, but not the wisdom to accompany it.

Even though this was one of the hardest times I have experienced, God used it and taught us greatly and abundantly. Now years later, I see the fruit and depth of that experience in us and blessing others. I pray that this post will speak to someone who may be going through a similar situation. I pray others will learn through my mistakes.  May God bless you with His kindness, wisdom and discernment.

“I will also tear off your veils and deliver My people out of your hand, and they shall no longer be as prey in your hand.  Then you shall know that I am the Lord.  Because with lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad…” Ezekiel 13:21, 22

Belinda 🙂