Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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Mission Preaching & the Two Birds

March 10th

Preaching at the Homeless mission about six people came up for an altar call afterwards. As I was praying for them I felt that God wanted me to particularly minister to a young, tall, dark-haired woman.

I’d never seen her before. Her striking features reminded me of the gypsies I had seen years ago in Europe.

I simply said to her “God wants to say something to you”, but at that point I had no idea what.

She looked at me expectantly.

I said let’s pray.

So as I prayed for her I saw above her head a black bird and a white bird.

I told her this picture I saw and asked if she knew what it meant. No, she shook her head.

Neither did I. Let’s ask the Lord I said.

So we did and then a question for her:

“Have you ever been involved in the occult?”

“No,” she said, “not the occult. Just sometimes my friends read Tarot for me.”

I explained to her Deuteronomy 18 and that Tarot reading is one type of divination which God forbids. She had no idea.

“And horoscopes is the occult too?” she then asked.

Yes

“And psychic mediums?”

YES

“But that was years ago,” said she.

I told her a story my pastor told me years ago. The occult can be likened to a legal situation we find ourselves in. We spend an hour with a solicitor discussing the matter, but when we leave we decide against pursuing the legal situation after all and let it drop. However that time we have spent with the lawyer must be paid for despite the fact that we have decided to let the matter drop. And you can rest assured that he will make us pay.

When a doorway is opened into the forbidden spiritual realm it is not closed by time, disinterest or our will. It is only closed through our repentance and renunciation.

I then saw that the two birds represented the two kingdoms – one of light and one of darkness. She was trying to mix Christianity with occultism/paganism, but they can’t be mixed. Those two birds are two very different birds and it’s one or the other. A plain and clear choice must be made. And the consequences are eternal.

The devil will try to murder us outright as Christians (physically or spiritually) and if that doesn’t work, he will bring in mixture. Think of Balak engaging a diviner to try to curse Israel. Murder. When that didn’t work what happened? Mixture. Instead the Israelite men began to engage in sexual immorality with Moabite women, then sacrificed to their idols. (Numbers 24 & 25). Murder or mixture.

Well praise the Lord my friend eventually repented of her sin and renounced it all. At the end of the night she lifted her hands in worship and sung with all her might praises to the Lord Jesus Christ, whom is far above all.

“Far above all, far above all. God has exalted Him far above all. Crown Him as Lord at His feet humbly fall. Jesus, Christ Jesus, is far above all.” Christian hymn

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The Order of Suffering

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

pain
acrylic and pastel

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

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

Why do you allow suffering Lord?

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

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

In late December I had a dream.

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

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

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

Though He slay me yet I will trust Him

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

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

The order of things is suffering.

Man chose his way and now it must run to completion

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

Suffering will be brought to full-bloom

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

Then Christ’s order will be ushered in.

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

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

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

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

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

They identified me with my Saviour

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

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

 

Belinda 🙂


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Street Preaching and the Homeless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Praise God for that.

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

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

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

 

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

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

1 is an ex-atheist

1 is an ex-Christian cult

All glory to the Lord Jesus Christ!

 

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

Belinda 🙂

 

 


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Once Upon a Moonlit Night…..

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Tonight was the first time I’ve been street preaching for a while.

Having recently lost two people I love within four days of each other, my life has obviously taken a rather different turn for a while.

But tonight I felt ready to go back out.  It’s funny how when you haven’t done something for a while, it suddenly becomes all big and scary.  All day I’ve been nervous about going into the city tonight.   The thought of going out there and shouting out a message that is generally unwelcome to most people made my stomach churn.   I thought of how I used to love going out there and couldn’t really remember why that was.

But I felt I should go, even though I didn’t really feel like it, if that makes sense.

I put my I-phone music on shuffle as I drove into the city.  I said to the Lord something I’ve never said before :

“Lord,” I said, “Whatever song randomly comes up first, I will take as a message from you.”  Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures…

Franz Family “Wherever You Are” came on:

But the will of God won’t lead you,

Where the grace of God can’t keep you

You will never be out of His care,

Remember that the Lord’s already there….

Wherever you are,

Wherever you’re going

God is right there beside you, seeing and knowing

Wherever you go,

He already knows

What lies ahead

And what’s behind

You’ll always find He’s never too far from wherever you are.”

Wow. Ok thank you Jesus.

My usual 40 minute trip into the city took 1.5 hours tonight.  It was raining and there was heavy traffic.  But I felt there was something God had for me when I got there and so I sung and prayed.

However 1.5 hours later, trying to find a car spot, on the verge of tears, I almost turned around and went home.  I said to God,

“Please help me, I need this night to be easy Lord.”

After I’d parked the car I walked down to the station where we preach.  Standing at the corner waiting to cross the busy road, I realized I hadn’t been there for over 2 months.  I looked at our “spot” across the road and I felt like I was coming home.

…..An uncomfortable, dysfunctional home yes, but home nonetheless.

That surprised me.

I crossed the road and at that very moment a girl came over to me and asked me:

“What makes you come out here to do this?”

We had a beautiful conversation.  She was only 16 years old, and currently homeless – couch-surfing between her dad’s and a friend’s place.  And in the city at night, all by herself.  She looked as if she’d been through a rough time.  Yet she was so lovely and soft and tender still, still a child.  Poor kid.

I shared my testimony with her, how God set me free from a cult, from depression, from anxiety, from a hard and cold heart.  How He has changed me, how He loves me, and how He loves her.  I shared the precious gospel with her.  She got tears in her eyes and said that she hopes she has the strength to find Jesus too one day.  She said she was just so tired.

“You know what” I said, “You don’t need strength. Just come to Him as you are, He will not turn you away.  He said for all who are weary and heavy burdened to come to Him and He will give them rest.”

She asked me :

“How do I find Him..?”

We prayed together.

I cried for her on my way home, beautiful child that she is.  I felt His compassion for her.  How greatly He loves her and is calling her home.

And I remembered why it is that I love going out there.

But…I have two questions:

How many more of these kids are out there?

and

Who will go?”


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The Night I Met Evie

Reflections of headlights flashed on the puddles as twilight set in.

I walked from the car-park looking for the others.

When I got to the corner where I was supposed to meet them, they weren’t there.

Where could they be?

I crossed the busy intersection to the other side, but they weren’t there either.

Hmmmm….

So down to the tunnel I went, the rain drops falling on my hair.

The entrance to the tunnel was busy but I made my way through.

Gosh, I didn’t realise how long this tunnel was.  Past a busker winking at me, past the jostling crowds, out the other side.

I walked a little along the river, looked around, but, no, they weren’t there either.

Now I really don’t know what to do.

I stop to think.  I turn slightly and that’s when I see Evie.

Although it’s not until later that I learn her name.

Sitting at the end of the bridge begging.  Her head in her hands, behind the scrawled sign “Please help”.

She looks so young.

I go over and sit with her, behind her sign.

“Hi”

“Hi”

“What are you doing here?”

She is homeless, spent the last few nights on the street.

She tells me that everything has been stolen from her as she had slept, her purse, her jumper, even her sanitary pads.

She says that she has a permanent place to go into on Monday, but it’s Friday and she needs help to get through the next two days.

I sit with her. I tell her about Jesus.  She says, “That’s funny, everyone keeps telling me about Him.”

Even as we speak someone walks past and drops a gospel tract into her begging container.

She points to a man begging in the middle of the bridge.

“He’s mad at me, I have to watch out for him, I’m in his patch and taking his business from him. He’s a druggy.”

We have dinner together and afterward I put her in touch with a women’s shelter, I say that I will pray for her and we part.

I walk back along the river, back through the tunnel.

Back to where I was originally meant to meet with the other street preachers.

And I see them.  Right there. They have been there all along.

I had walked right by them and not seen them.  Somehow.

But that’s not the end of the story.

Tuesday night I pray.  I pray for Evie and other stuff.  I wait on God.

He says to me, clear as anything, “Go to Evie.”

Huh?

“Go to Evie.”

But Lord, she moved into a place yesterday, she is fine now.

“Go to Evie.”

But Lord, she’s not there at the bridge anymore

“She will be there, go to Evie.”

Ok. If you give me an opportunity to go, I will go to her.

Thursday afternoon.

My parents drop in and say they will mind my son.

I drive into the city.

The whole way there I think that I must be crazy, what am I doing?  I could be sitting child-free in a café somewhere…

But I go anyway.

The car parked, I get out, walk. Then, for some reason, I start to run.  I run and run to the bridge.  I come over the crest and look to see if she is there.

She is there.  She is begging.

I run to her, out of breath.

“Evie! what are you doing here? You were meant to move in to a place on Monday!”

She looks at me and says “Why are you running?” as only a teenager can.

I laugh, embarrassed, because I don’t know why I’m running myself.

Then she says “The place didn’t work out”

We have lunch.

Turns out she had gotten to the bridge five minutes before I arrived.

Another time she met my husband and we went out to dinner.

She came to my home once.

She said she was bringing someone for me to meet.

(Please God don’t let it be a man.)

I go out to meet her in the drive-way and she’s carrying a baby girl.

18 month old Rose.

Rose had been removed, but was now returned to her mum, Evie.

Because, Evie tells me, a house has become available for her.

Her boyfriend is getting out of jail

and her mum is coming to live with them too.

They stay for a while.  Rose is so sweet.  Evie is too.

That’s the last time I see her.

She moved into the house with her daughter, boyfriend and mum.

It’s far from here.

But she texts me and tells me that they’re doing well.

…….God didn’t let me see the friends I was meant to meet that night

Instead He wanted me to meet Evie,

A young mum,

homeless

daughterless

penniless

hopeless

But He knew.

And He had His eye on little Rose the whole time.

Truly His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting.