Grace and Truth

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How to be Sensitive to the Spirit of God

Sensitivity to the Spirit of God is driven primarily by being able to hear Him.

“The Lord God has given Me

source: catechismway.blogspot.com

The tongue of the learned,
That I should know how to speak
A word in season to him who is weary.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear
To hear as the learned” Isaiah 50:4

Again, sensitivity to the Spirit of God is driven primarily by being able to hear Him.

He awakens my ear to hear as the learned”

This hearing happens within our spirit. This can be sometimes channelled through our physical ear as we listen to a sermon, or someone gives us an encouraging Word, but not always. But it is always through our human spirit.

What do I mean by our human spirit? When we are followers of Christ, His Holy Spirit comes to dwell in our human spirit and quickens (or makes alive) that inner part of us which was previously dead through trespass and sin. With our spirit now alive to the Lord and His Spirit dwelling within us we have the ability to hear His voice.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” John 10:27

Whether we hear a sermon, read something or feel a prompting in the spirit, we know it is of the Spirit of God when it bears witness with our spirit.

Sometimes you may listen to a whole sermon and nothing registers in your spirit. It could be an intellectual masterpiece, or it could stir our emotions, but if it doesn’t penetrate through the realm of our soul and into the spirit it is simply the flesh and profits us nothing spiritually. Another time you may hear a couple of words, a line of a song, read one verse and your spirit suddenly jumps. You know like you know that that is a Word for you. That is the Holy Spirit speaking, bearing witness to your spirit.

When that happens we need to slow down and listen. We need to allow it to really sink in and take root in our hearts because the Spirit of God is trying to tell us something. We need to wait on God. But even more than that, we need to be so intimate with Jesus that we are constantly in a pose of listening to Him. Remember Mary sitting at His feet… We are with Him where He is so that when He speaks a Word, or wants us to do something we are so close to Him that we know like we know immediately.

“He who has ears to hear let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches”

Jesus said something similar to this multiple times through the gospels and also repeatedly to the churches at the beginning of Revelation. Since He repeated this phrase so often there must be a reason for it.

Hearing in the Spirit Leads to Speaking Forth in the Spirit

Notice in Isaiah 50:4 it says “The Lord God has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary…”

The hearing in the spirit and the speaking forth of a word in season to those around us are connected. How do we speak forth with the tongue of the learned into people’s lives in order to minister and be a blessing? By having our ears awakened to hear as the learned! We need to hear from Him first or else we will have nothing to offer others.

The deaf-mute man whom Jesus healed in Mark 7 is a picture to us. This man could not hear, thus he could not speak. Jesus first touched the deafened ears, then spat and touched his tongue.

“Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”

Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.” Mark 7:34,35

Are you wondering why you have nothing to give others? Do you not know what to say when someone comes to you for help? Do you feel like you have failed them?

You need your ears opened by the Lord. Go wait on Him. Confess your need, confess your desire to be able to feed others with the Word and ask Him to open your ears to the Spirit. Then when He tells you to do/say something, do it. Prompt obedience to the Lord is a sure-fire way He will keep speaking to us.

Blessings!

 

 

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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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Marriage, Covenant & Virginity

My beautiful country, Australia, is currently holding a postal survey with the question:

“‘Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry? Yes or No

The last votes are due in next week and we find out the result in about a month.

Putting aside the emotional, subjective opinions both for and against I just want to share about the beauty and essence of marriage. Once we see the prophetic pinnacle of truth and loveliness that marriage is I believe it will speak for itself.

And yes I am going to bring the importance of virginity into it, because marriage and virginity are inextricably linked, whether we like it or not.

 

The Bible and Weddings

The Bible begins with the wedding of Adam and Eve and it ends with the wedding or marriage supper of the Lamb – Christ and His Bride.

For God to begin and end His Book with two weddings shows us that He esteems marriage highly.

But what many miss is that God holds marriage so highly that the entire Bible is about marriage – yes the whole thing from start to finish and everything in between.

The Bible details God’s dealings with humankind. From the Garden of Eden in Genesis we see God’s desire to dwell amongst people and to be in relationship with them. Why did He even create the earth and in fact human beings at all? Because He desired fellowship with them. He desired to share the love that is within the Godhead (or trinity) with others. God is in His very essence love, and Love is self-less and seeks to give and to share.

We need to remember that God always deals with us humans on the basis of 2 things :

  • His Son and
  • Covenant (which entails blood)

 

The Bride of Christ

Adam was a picture of Jesus Christ. He was put to sleep, his side was pierced and his blood shed, in order for his bride to be created from his side.

Jesus was put to sleep (died) on the cross. His blood was shed and it was from His own pierced side that His Bride, the Church, was created.

God gave Adam Eve, and God has given Christ the Church.

Thus Adam and Eve were in a covenant relationship sealed by blood, just as we are in a covenant relationship with Jesus. He instituted the new covenant at the Last Supper He had with His disciples on Passover, where He said

“In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Luke 22:20

All throughout history God has dealt with humanity on the basis of covenant and that covenant is always sealed by blood. Each covenant is also a picture of Christ. Consider the Noahic and the Abrahamic covenants as further texts to study.

 

The Wife of Jehovah

God dealt with Israel in the Old Testament by covenant, and this actually took the form of a marriage covenant.

“The relationship of Israel as the Wife of Jehovah is viewed throughout the Scriptures in various ways and facets…..The entire format of the Book of Deuteronomy is that of both an ancient treaty and an ancient marriage contract. In this book, Moses took all the various facets of the three earlier books and presented them in the form of an ancient marriage contract. In this book we find the marriage contract signed between Israel and God whereby Israel becomes the Wife of Jehovah.” (Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum)

In the Passover the sacrificial lamb’s blood was shed and painted on the doorposts to save the Israelites. This was the shed blood to ratify the covenant and it also pointed to the ultimate Lamb whose blood was shed to save the world.

 

Covenants and Blood

Every covenant that God cuts with humankind is sealed with blood.

Why?

Because every single covenant is a picture designed to point us to something greater.

*Jesus*

Jesus is what it is all about. The whole Bible, the whole creation, the whole thing!

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” John 1:14

That Love from God is sent to us in His Son. That desire of God to dwell amongst His people He has brought about through Christ. His shed blood is the seal of the ultimate covenant, the New Covenant between Jesus Christ and humankind. When we enter into covenant with Him by faith in His finished work on the cross we become part of the Bride.

And Marriage is no different.

 

The Marriage Covenant

Marriage is a covenant designed to point us to something far greater. It is designed to point us to Christ and His Bride.

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

Marriage therefore is a prophetic sign post to point us to Christ and His work on the cross.

Every time a man and a woman stand up before God and human witnesses and say their vows they are painting a picture of Christ and His Bride and the ultimate wedding – the marriage supper of the Lamb.

They are witnessing to the angels, the demons and the earthlings that The Bridegroom has made a covenant with The Bride and He is coming back to get her.

And that is why marriage is so attacked. The enemy wants to remove or pervert the testimony and the prophetic signpost between a man and a woman because it points to Jesus.

 

Virginity

When a man and a woman stand before God and humankind and pledge their “troth” or vows to each other they have entered into a covenant relationship, whether they know it or not and whether they like it or not.

Nowadays we hold marriage and vows so lightly that we don’t even begin to realise their huge spiritual significance. But in the spiritual realm they are binding and they change the situational realities of the two who have entered into covenant. For instance, the spiritual headship of the woman transfers from her father to her husband. And the husband becomes responsible for the woman (and any future children) in every single way – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Whether we like it or not.

So upon entering covenant relationship with each other, there needs to be blood shed to ratify the covenant made.Image result for picture of marriagevows

This is where virginity comes in to the picture.

When a man and woman are virgins and consummate their wedding vows on the wedding night, blood is shed. Scientists cannot explain the purpose of the hymen in the female anatomy. They suppose it must be left over from some evolutionary purpose. But God put the hymen there on purpose so that blood would be shed to seal the marriage covenant.

When both a man and a woman enter in to the covenant of marriage as virgins God has a special blessing for that marriage. That marriage is entered into according to His divine order and He is thereby free to bless abundantly.

For those whom may have entered the marriage covenant as non-virgins, do not fear or feel condemned. God will do a restoration work for you. Simply confess to Him and ask for His forgiveness. Ask Him to bring your marriage into divine order and to bless the fruit of your marriage. God is a good God, full of love, and desires to give and restore.

And this is the essence of our covenant-making, covenant-keeping God.

 

God bless!

Belinda 🙂

 


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The Way of the Cross

The Way of the Cross is hard

The Way of the Cross is unyielding

The Way of the Cross is sharp and pointy

The Way of the Cross hurts

The Way of the Cross shatters self

and self-belief

 

The Way of the Cross breaks open a Way

And this is from where Life springs

Eternal

The Way of the Cross is death

That leads to Life

 

Stop resisting the Spirit of God.  Why do you kick against the goads?  Yield to Him.

He has a better Way.

 


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The Man in the Gap

The Man in the Gap - Acrylic on canvas

The Man in the Gap – Acrylic on canvas

Who can find a man to stand in the gap?

 

Where is he today?

 

He is hidden

He is not seen

He is behind the veil

Of what is seen with the natural eye

 

A hidden work

A secret mission

 

Not on stages

Not applauded

No recognition

No fame

 

Nothing

From this world

Is his

 

But him and Christ

Together

Behind the veil

One

 

That is his work

That is his joy

That is his life

 

May we be willing to join with Jesus and lay down our lives for the work of intercession!

God bless,

Belinda


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Jesus and the Golden Lampstand

TabernacleLeaving the Outer Court of the Tabernacle of Moses, we now enter the Holy Place, the place of fellowship with God.

 

The contrast between the Holy Place and the Outer Court is immediately apparent.

 

The Outer Court The Holy Place
The Outer Court is outside, lit by the daylight. The Holy Place is enclosed, lit only by the Golden Lampstand

 

The furniture is made of acacia wood overlaid with bronze The Holy Place’s furniture is made of gold or acacia wood overlaid with gold

 

The Israelites were free to bring offerings here Only the priests were allowed to enter the Holy Place to minister to God and for fellowship with Him.

 

hpThe Holy Place

Imagine stepping from the daylight, through the heavy door and into the Holy Place. Here there was no daylight, only the light from the beautiful golden candlestick to your left casting a soft glow over the Golden Altar in front of you and the Table of Showbread to your right.

It takes a moment for your eyes to adjust but when they do, you see that it is positively luminous within the Holy Place. Everything is shimmering gold, reflecting the light of the candlestick. In fact the wood-panelled walls are overlaid with gold and so the whole room seems to glow in the soft, golden light.

The Golden Lampstand

The Golden Lampstand was made from solid gold. It was not cast in a mould, neither was it made from acacia wood overlaid with gold. It was hammered from one piece of pure gold. The only other piece of furniture in the Tabernacle of Moses that was made of pure gold was the Mercy Seat with Cherubim, which was in the Most Holy Place.

“You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, lampstandits branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece….It shall be made of a talent of pure gold” Exodus 25:31, 39

 

The Beauty of the Lampstand

The Lampstand had a main shaft with six branches protruding out of it, three on each side. At the top of each branch was a small gold bowl in the shape of almond blossoms which held the olive oil for burning. So in total there were seven branches and seven bowls. Each branch had ornamental knobs and flowers hammered into it.

And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side.  Three bowls shall be made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower—and so for the six branches that come out of the lampstand.  On the lampstand itself four bowls shall be made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower.  And there shall be a knob under the first two branches of the same, a knob under the second two branches of the same, and a knob under the third two branches of the same, according to the six branches that extend from the lampstand.  Their knobs and their branches shall be of one piece; all of it shall be one hammered piece of pure gold.  You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it. And its wick-trimmers and their trays shall be of pure gold.  It shall be made of a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils.”

What a stunning piece of artwork! God certainly doesn’t do anything by halves, He is the ultimate artisan. And He is still creating beautiful artworks today in His church, ie, you and me.

Of course, not only was this lampstand beautiful, but it also shows forth significant truths.

 

How the Materials of the Lampstand Point to Christ

As we have seen from our previous studies, every single item contained within the Tabernacle had a purpose and a divine pattern. God uses the Tabernacle to reveal His precious Son; and the Golden Lampstand’s purpose is no different.

Gold: always points to deity/divinity. This shows us the divinity of Christ. The Lampstand was made of one piece of gold and hammered into shape.

Hammered: the hammering of the gold points to the sufferings of Christ

Seven: is the number of divine perfection/completion. It is the number given to the Holy Spirit, ie. “The seven spirits of God” (Rev 1:4; Rev 4:5, Isaiah 11:2-3) whom Jesus has, “He who has the seven Spirits of God…” Revelation 3:1

Almond blossom: were hammered into shape on the branches of the lampstand. The significance of the almond is also pictured in the story of the blossoming of Aaron’s rod in Numbers 17.

 

The Significance of the Almond Blossomalmond blossom

Moses’ brother Aaron was the High Priest of Israel. This was a position to which God Himself called Aaron. When others rebelled and contested Aaron’s High Priestly role, God commanded Moses to :

“Speak to the children of Israel, and get from them a rod from each father’s house, all their leaders according to their fathers’ houses—twelve rods. Write each man’s name on his rod. And you shall write Aaron’s name on the rod of Levi. For there shall be one rod for the head of each father’s house.  Then you shall place them in the tabernacle of meeting before the Testimony, where I meet with you. And it shall be that the rod of the man whom I choose will blossom” Numbers 17:1-5

The next day it was Aaron’s rod that had “sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds.” Numbers 17:8

The miracle of a long dead piece of wooden rod sprouting new life was God’s confirmation to all of Israel that Aaron was the man he had endorsed to be in the High Priestly role.

But this miracle pointed to something even more significant.

Aaron as High Priest of the Old Covenant foreshadows Christ as our great High Priest now in the New Covenant:

“…We have such a high Priest who is seated at the right had of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected and not man.” Hebrews 8:1,2

Jesus is the Man whom God has ordained to be His Great High Priest. And God’s approval of Aaron’s High Priestly role foreshadows His endorsement of Christ’s High Priestly role. That is, through the resurrection.

You see, the almond tree was the first to blossom in Israel after the cold, winter months. The first tree to bring forth life from death. So Aaron’s dead rod physically brought forth life from death to show God’s approval of him. And of course, the anti-type is God raising Christ physically from the dead after His sufferings, being God’s ultimate seal of approval.

jesus tombThe Golden Lampstand’s branches have almond blossoms beaten into their golden shape to show forth Christ’s resurrection from the dead after His sufferings.

 

Next ….

  • more on how the Lampstand points to Jesus; and
  • The Lampstand also as a picture of the Holy Spirit

 

 

 


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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 🙂