Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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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 🙂

 


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The Anointing, the Devil and Preaching

Sorry....I just had to...

Sorry….I just had to…

Friday morning 3 others and I went into the city to preach.

Beforehand in prayer the Holy Spirit gave us Joshua 2:24:

“And they said to Joshua, ‘Truly the Lord has delivered all the land into our hands, for indeed all the inhabitants of the country are fainthearted because of us.”

Something the Body of Christ needs to know:

The demons indeed are fainthearted when the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached.

CT Studd said “If you don’t want the Devil to hit you, hit him first, and hit him with all your might, so that he may be too crippled to hit back. ‘Preach the Word’ is the rod the Devil fears and hates.”

Why? Because Jesus Christ has “disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in the cross.” Colossians 2:15

When the Word is preached, it is the proclamation of the public spectacle over all the powers of hell, over all the powers of sin and darkness, which was accomplished by Christ at the cross.open air

But.  And there is a “but”… preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ needs to be done in the power of the Holy Spirit.  The preacher needs the anointing of God.

Why?

Because it is essential to be able to preach to the “back of things” as T Austin Sparks would say.

We are not preaching merely at men and women.  We are preaching to the spiritual realm at the back of all things.  I would say that primarily we are preaching to the unseen realm.  And this requires power – the supernatural power of the Holy Ghost.

The greatest anointing I have experienced whilst street preaching is when I knew I was preaching directly to Jesus Himself.  That is when the anointing fell and folks were literally stopped in their tracks.

I have also known when I am preaching to the unseen powers of darkness.  This was in the Battle with the Hare krishnas.  I knew that the victory of Jesus Christ was to be enforced over the principalities and powers.  They fought and they tried, but Christ has “already lead captivity captive” and is already the victor.

When we are under the anointing of God we are standing in Christ’s stead, we are His ambassadors.

“Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20

If we don’t have the anointing we are working merely in the flesh, the physical realm.  We may have the correct doctrine and the right words but we are merely skimming the surface of things because the unseen realm is left undisturbed. As a consequence nothing of much value is accomplished.

How is that ice-addict to be freed from the grip of Satan?  How will that young woman bound in witchcraft be made to see when the god of this age has blinded her eyes?  The devil has to be dealt with first.  Proclaim the victory of the cross of Christ, in the power of the Spirit, and his grip will be loosened enough for them to be able to hear the gospel.

With the anointing anything is possible.  By the power of the Spirit when the gospel is proclaimed, the devil trembles and knows he is defeated already.

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

May God bless you!

 


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Tonight’s Street Preaching 29 Aug ’14

flinders stThe last time I went in to preach in the city’s streets was in the battle with the Hares some weeks back.  That ended up taking a huge toll on me and I was sick for some time afterwards…

The good news is that they apparently haven’t been back to the area since.

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14

Something else I discovered tonight: a large Muslim contingent has set up two tables in the city’s most popular mall.  There they distribute Islamic literature and even preach on microphones to the public.

Of course, they are entitled to do so, just as we are.

I find this disturbing though.  Why?  Because it is really hard to getLR preaching Christians out there to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, yet the Muslims are seemingly doing it for Allah.

I suppose that may be because as Christians we are partakers of God’s wondrous grace.  We certainly don’t have to street-preach or to share the gospel to be saved.  We don’t have to work for salvation at all. No, it is all the work of God. And praise Him for that! However, I do wonder why it is so hard to get Christians out there when we have the greatest love story in the world to share (not to mention the Great Commission Christ gave us and the Holy Spirit to help us).

Christian brothers and sisters – we need to pray that God sends out more labourers into the harvest!  We really do.  Whilst most of the church is sitting in their comfy chairs watching tv or arguing amongst themselves over doctrinal issues, the devil is working diligently against the gospel of Christ.

I am not trying to put condemnation on anyone. It is hard to get out there.  Believe me, I know.  I also know that no-one wants to hear this….  But I think it necessary to speak the truth of what I see.

Brothers and sisters we urgently need two things :

  • intercessors, and
  • those willing to go.  We need those like Isaiah who will say:

“Here I am Lord; send me.”woman preacher

 

 


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From Muhammed to Jesus

“Belinda, why hasn’t anyone told me before that Jesus rose from the dead?”cropped-jesus.jpg

This was Muslim woman *Safa’s question to me when I first shared the gospel with her just over a year ago…

On Friday I had the great honour and privilege of baptizing Safa*- our first adult convert to be baptized in our Mission.

 

With her permission I will share with you a little of Safa’s story…

Safa moved to Australia with her family when she was six years old. She was brought up a Muslim in a Muslim family. She remembers her father regularly went to mosque to make his prayers.

 

As time went on her family life broke down and violence became a part of it. As Safa grew up she turned away from her childhood faith and entered into an albeit God-less existence, although she stilled called herself a Muslim. Over the course of the years a pre-arranged marriage which didn’t work out, another violently abusive relationship and then the arrival of a baby boy had caused Safa to withdraw from much of life.

As she struggled to bring up her son as a single mother, she remembers spending most of her days simply staring out the window. Eventually she was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and turned to alcohol to alleviate some of the pain of her past.

Most days at midday she would begin to drink and would keep going right till 2 or 3am.

How I became a part of Safa’s life is through the food pantry. We have run this ministry from our garage for five years now. Another single mother whom we had helped with food parcels told me she knew someone who needed help – Safa. So one day I took food around to Safa. As well as the food, I popped into the bag a Bible and a Christian tract. This continued for a few weeks until one day Safa told me she had been reading the Bible but didn’t understand what she was reading. She invited me in for a coffee and to explain it to her.

I shared the basic gospel of Jesus Christ with her. This was when she had said to me:

“Belinda, why hasn’t anyone told me before that Jesus rose from the dead?”

From six years old she had lived in this “Christian” country – and it was not until she was in her forties that she heard the gospel. How terribly sad.

Then she said to me:

“But Belinda- If Jesus rose from the dead that means God is real!”

Her simple faith stunned me. Never before had I come across this beautiful child-like faith. I admit I almost did not know how to react to it. Antagonism, skepticism – these reactions were all familiar to me, but this was something new.

As I left her house that day I praised the Lord. I praised Him for His mercy and lovingkindess, I praised Him that He had sent me to Safa. I praised Him for her childlike faith and beauty.

Week by week we began meeting and reading the Bible together. Safa was full of questions. She couldn’t get enough of this incredible Book. New meaning was coming into her life and suddenly she began seeing that God was real.

“Belinda, I have never before noticed how beautiful those flowers are! It is like I am seeing them for the first time!” Safa said this sort of statement to me regularly as God’s beautiful creation unfolded before her for the first time.

Safa even began dreaming. She dreamt she was dropping down a big hole on her way to hell when suddenly she was saved. Some nights Safa would wake herself up talking aloud to Jesus. She said His presence was so very close to her.

All of this was so encouraging to me and I rejoiced in the Lord.  However one thing was bothering me. I had smelled alcohol on Safa on a number of occasions. I didn’t know anything much about her or her past at this point, but I knew the smell of alcohol and I knew what it meant.

 

At that time I had just come out of a very difficult situation with another alcoholic that we had been ministering to. He had never confessed his alcoholism to us but it was obvious by the copious amounts of drink he consumed whenever we saw him. He had hurt us incredibly by lying to us, abusing us and then ultimately rejecting us as we tried to reach Him with God’s love. That is another story, but now being confronted with another person enslaved to alcohol was potentially too much for me to bear in my recent hurt. I spoke to God about this regularly. I didn’t know what He was going to do about it but I knew that I couldn’t bear being lied to again.

 

And then He did it.

 

One night I dropped food into Safa. She met me on her front porch. She was ready to accept Christ as her Lord and Saviour and to give Him her life. Suddenly the floodgates were opened and she confessed. She confessed her sins to me, she confessed her alcoholism and the hold it had on her. She confessed she was powerless against it. I knew then that this situation was different from the last. That God was working in her and that He had had her confess in absolute childlike honesty everything to me.

 

This was the beginning of Safa being set free.

 

There on her front porch we prayed together. She gave her life to Christ and I broke the power of the demon of alcohol over her in the Name of Jesus.

Safa says that was the night that everything changed.   Even though she still drank, the alcohol lost its grip on her there and then.

 

She began reducing her intake. Her doctors became concerned. They told her she was reducing it too fast and that she would go into cardiac arrest.

She said  “But if I don’t need it why should I drink it?”

They encouraged her to drink more. They said her body needs it. They were scared of what would happen.

When she refused, they helplessly told her to ring the Drug and Alcohol helpline, which she did.

After explaining to the man at the Drug and Alcohol line her situation he told her to continue with what she was doing.  he was amazed by how well she was doing. When he asked her the cause of this sudden change in her life she told him:

“I have gotten to know Jesus.” She ended up witnessing to him on the phone. He asked if he could share her story with the other drug and alcohol counsellors he worked with….

 

Safa asked me one day how she should now answer on official documents as to her religion – should she write “Muslim” or “Christian”?

 

I answered by asking her “Well, Safa, who do you follow – Muhammed or Jesus?”

 

“Jesus!” She exclaimed, “I follow Jesus.  I am a Christian!”

And so Safa was baptized on Friday in front of the ladies from our women’s prayer group.

Safa has found a Man she can trust. A Man who will never harm her or abuse her in any way. A Man who gave up His very life for her.

A Man she is totally in love with….. That Man of Galilee.

On Friday Safa obeyed her Lord and was identified with Him in His death, burial and resurrection.

I am absolutely overjoyed that God led me to Safa. I feel so privileged to have been with her every step of the way as she came to also know Jesus, my wonderful Saviour. I feel so privileged to be able to continue to disciple Safa and watch her grow.

I praise God with the angels in heaven that “there is a new name written down in glory”.

Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!

But one thing I can never forget is her question to me:

“Belinda, why hasn’t anyone told me before that Jesus rose from the dead?”

 

*Name has been changed to protect privacy


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No Compromise: “Not a Hoof Shall be Left Behind”

Moses didn’t compromise with Pharoah.comproimse

I guess he could have. It would have probably been a whole lot easier for him to accept the first offer from Pharoah which came after the plague of flies : that the children of Israel can go make their sacrifices to God right there in the land of Egypt.

But Moses said “no deal” – that’s not what God had instructed: “We will go three days’ journey in to the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as He will command us.” Exodus 8:27

After the plague of hail Pharoah conceded slightly and offered a new deal to Moses “Go now, you who are men, and serve the Lord.”
But, again, Moses said “no deal”, that’s not what God had commanded : “And Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we will go, for we must hold a feast to the Lord.” Exodus 10:9

After swarms of locusts and 3 days of intense blackness Pharoah called Moses in. He was ready to offer his best compromise yet:
“Go, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be kept back. Let your little ones also go with you,” he said.

This was his best deal yet. After all, Egypt’s own animals had now been wiped out by boils, hail and disease. Moses only need leave the animals behind and all the men, women and children were free to go!

Did Moses yield and make a compromise with the one holding God’s people captive? Did he agree to the deal with Pharoah potentially bringing about peace and unity between the Israelites and the Egyptians?

compromise‘But Moses said, “You must also give us sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. Our livestock also shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind. For we must take some of them to serve the Lord our God, and even we do not know with what we must serve the Lord until we arrive there.” Exodus 10:25, 26

Of course Moses didn’t make a deal with the devil, oops, I mean Pharoah. He didn’t compromise one inch! Not even one little hoof was to be left behind!

Moses was a man of God with a foundation of truth and integrity that was built on the Word of God. Moses had always told Pharoah the truth. The whole truth – even the hard parts about judgment.  Moses had always proclaimed the truth and he wasn’t going to start backing down now.

My question is…..So what on earth has happened to the Church?

At every turn we are compromising: making deals with the devil, shaking hands, signing documents with Islam (Chrislam), Interfaith conferences, performing occult practices in the Church.

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14

Imagine if Moses had said “yes” to one of Pharoah’s little deals…who knows, maybe he was tired and the offer was tempting….

What would we have done?  Would we have had the guts to say “No. Not even one hoof is going to be left behind! I am not budging on God’s Word one teeny iota” ? Would we have been brave enough to stand on God’s Word, hard as it may be…?

 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…”  Romans 1:16

Let us not fear men more than we fear God.  Where would that have gotten Moses?

“Give me one hundred men who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they be clergyman or laymen, they alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven upon the earth” John Wesley

 

 


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Street-Preaching – Uh Why?

“I believe I never was more acceptable to my Master than when I was standing to teach those hearers in the open fields…I now preach to ten times more people than I would if I had been confined to the churches.” George Whitfield

ha love it We were there to street-preach before the concert began and set up the PA system. With wave upon wave of people coming across the street toward us and hundreds more pouring out from the train station behind us, it was crazy busy.  There were so many people that at one point I could hardly move.

It was too good an opportunity to pass up. I preached.

“Nobody cares!” someone screamed at me.

Who cares if nobody cares?  I certainly don’t.  My Lord Jesus told me to “Go”.   I kept preaching. I preached for as long as I could, until my voice started cracking and I had to stop for its sake.street preaching

Street-preaching – why? (I ask myself this when I’m feeling tired or lazy)

Because thousands of people, both old and young heard the gospel of Jesus Christ last night who perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise.

What if those people never once in their life ever stepped inside a Church?What if they never heard the gospel before they died?

Thank you my Jesus.