Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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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.


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Marriage, yep, marriage

Hmmmm… so much has been written on marriage over the years. Books and articles, people’s varying opinions on it, feminism, chauvinism, whatever… Why then am I also writing on this much-discussed topic? Because we are living in unprecedented times. We are living in an age where human-kind, at least in the West, is seeking to re-define this ancient and divine institution and interpose its own humanistic will onto it.

It was probably about two years ago that the Holy Spirit brought to my heart the necessity to pray for marriage in this country. There was much talk at the time about changing the legal definition of marriage from one man and one woman to also allow man and man and woman and woman marriage.

So I prayed as well as I could. Yet I felt I was ineffective, working in my own flesh, rather than that of the Spirit. So I asked God how I should pray.

And He showed me.
rings
I opened the Word to Ephesians 5:22-33 and read this passage of scripture, which I had read so often before. This time though, verses 31 and 32 got hold of me:

“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:31, 32)

I saw at once that marriage is a testimony that God has put in this earth of Jesus Christ and His Bride, the Church. That this has always been God’s intention since even before the creation of Adam and Eve. The very gospel is rooted in marriage.

In brief, when a man leaves his father and mother and marries his wife it is a picture of Christ leaving His Father’s heavenly home and coming to earth for His Bride. On earth, Jesus Christ laid down His life for His Bride and through His death and resurrection the two, Jesus and His Bride, become one – “we are members of His Body, of His flesh and of His bones.” (verse 30). Therefore every time a man and woman are joined in Holy Matrimony a testimony and a signpost is established on this earth of Jesus Christ and His ultimate purpose – the Church.

No wonder Satan wants to destroy marriage. He will do whatever he can to destroy or remove this testimony of Christ out of the earth.

Therefore, as Christ’s Bride, it is our job, nay our command, to pray. PRAY, PRAY, PRAY.

I DO NOT accept that gay marriage is inevitable. No I don’t.

If…. The Church will do what she has been called to do. Salt and light remember….?

And Jesus Himself said “the gates of hell shall not prevail against my church.” (Matthew 16:18)

I do not believe that as His Bride we should stand back passively, and let the enemy of our souls systematically destroy God’s holy testimony in this earth.

No. No way.

It is time to rise up as the Church, the Body and the Bride of Jesus Christ and do what we have been called to do – PRAY. Wrestle.  Fight.

Our enemy is not flesh and blood. Our enemy is not homosexuals, nor politicians, nor any human being. We are called to love others and to pray for our leaders. The Bible says:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places…….Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:12-18

So how do we pray? It’s simple.

We ask God to uphold the testimony in this earth of Christ and His Bride, of which marriage between a man and a woman points to.

Next time….The Significance of Jewish Marriage Customs


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Being Fed

Continued from Hunger

breadWhen once a hunger had been born in me for God’s presence then, naturally, I sought to be fed.  The revelation of our own spiritual bankruptcy, whether by food shortage or some sort of crisis, is the catalyst for the formation of a hunger for God.  When we are able to see our spiritual bankruptcy it is then that we can truly seek God in the way He should be sought.  Not as a means to an end, or to fulfill an agenda of our own but by loving Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.  It is because we have seen that without Him we are starving and dying, and in the desperation of soul-hunger we begin to seek after the Bread of Life.  And that’s what I did.  Suddenly the temporal, physical things that used to bring me some degree of satisfaction became empty and vain.  I began to crave Jesus and His presence.  My prayer time was in the evening, and all day long I would look forward to the evening when I could be with Him again.

Jesus said “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” (John 6:27)

God sees our need of Him.   He knows that without Him we are starving.  And He knew that man would reject Him in the Garden of Eden, in order to pursue his own way.  That is why God prepared a “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”  Because of His infinite mercy, God had already prepared a way to repair the breach between man and God and to bring us back into fellowship with Him.   That way was by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus, to the cross to bear the dreadful curse for our souls.  Before He was crucified Jesus said:

“I am the living Bread which came down from Heaven. If any man eat of this Bread, he shall live forever; and the Bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.   The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?   Then Jesus said unto them, “Verily, verily I say unto you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.  Whoso eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the Last Day.   For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.  He that eats My flesh and drinks My blood dwells in Me, and I in him.  As the living Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father, so he that eats Me, even he shall live by Me.”  (John 6:53-57)

Jesus said this to the very people whom, the day before, had been miraculously fed with the loaves and the fish.  He wasn’t referring to cannibalism, He was telling them to look beyond the physical miracle of the multiplied loaves and fish and to see the greater miracle standing before them – God’s own Son.  His life was about to be given for them so that they may have life.  He was going to be crucified, His body broken and His blood poured out for their sin so that they would no longer have to be separated from God by those very sins.  There was no longer any need to starve spiritually.   Here was the provision right in front of them.  In verses 48 and 58 He says “I am the bread of life…This is the bread that came down from heaven – not as your fathers ate the manna and are dead.  He who eats this bread will live forever.”

So here is God’s provision for our spiritual starvation right in front of us.  It is Christ’s Himself.  When we turn away from our sin of independence and pride and put our faith in the Bread of Life then we are filled with His life, by His Holy Spirit.

Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)

Jesus2He is the source of our life and He is the sustainer of our life.  We need to be full of Him.  Nothing else can satisfy, no religious duty or practice, neither anything in this world – only Him.  We need to be in His presence regularly, feasting on the Word every day, allowing His Spirit to convict us, speak to us, minister to us and we need fellowship with others who are full of Him too.  As David, we need to know how to encourage ourselves in the Lord.  We need to know how to feed on Him.

We also need to maintain a hunger for Him. I find that that is more difficult when life is going well.  Although I actually still need Him now as much as I did when I suffered the depressive episode, it’s easier for me to forget that need of Him now that I am free of depression.  That’s why I need to read the Word because it convicts me, washes me and changes me.  I also need to pray regularly because I find that the more time I spend with Him the more time I want to spend with Him and feed on the Bread of Life.

To the Laodiceans, who could not see their own poverty and need of Him, Jesus said, “Behold I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

 

Next part 3 – Feeding Others