Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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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 🙂

 

 


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Finding the Balance of Grace and Truth in an Increasingly Dark World

scalesJesus said that we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. As society continues on its rapid descent into darkness the church is called to be salt in the earth, a preserver from evil. But we also are to be a light in the darkness – a place to where people are drawn away from evil and unto good. The thing is, because this world, its value systems and philosophies, is so quickly changing into a post-Christian mind-set, Christians are often seen as the enemy rather than the light. We are the enemies of progress, enemies of other religions, enemies of certain groups of people, such as homosexuals.

Is this right? Should this be the case?

Today Christians have to contend with issues that were never mainstream issues years or decades ago in a society based on Christian values. Today we are post-modern and post-objective truth.   Thus what was unacceptable years ago – adultery, fornication, porn, divorce, abortion, homosexuality, occult practices – is now acceptable.  It even may be argued that we have gone beyond mere acceptance and that these practices are now actively promoted.

In response to the post-Christian world around us one tends to find that Christians generally go one of two ways: They either accept society’s evolving standards, deny the truth, and be perceived as loving, (the “light”), in order to try to save some; or they go the other way and become so angry at the changing world and the fact that other Christians have denied the truth that they dismiss grace and preach the truth but with no love (the “salt”).

The thing is, we need to be both light and salt. We need to find the balance of grace and truth.

Okay, so this is what I can make of it: We absolutely, resolutely need to remain faithful to the truth of God’s Word. To change His Word, to faithfuldismiss parts of it, to pick and choose the easy bits is just not an option. What this world needs more than ever is clear, decisive, objective truth. As this world is decaying we need to be the salt that slows the corruption. We need to either take all of His Word or none of it. We can’t have it both ways. We need to be resolved because we will be tested on this time and again. Know that if you are going to stand by the truth of God’s Word then at times you will be perceived as sounding harsh, unloving, intolerant. For a Christian to just simply speak the truth now is an act of hate. And here’s the worst bit: Most Christians feel the same. (Generally speaking) Christians now, rather than denouncing the sinful acts, denounce the preacher who is denouncing the sinful acts.

But…..and this is a big BUT…. It all comes down to the state of our heart. As Christians we need to understand this. There is no point preaching the truth, or trying to live by the truth of God’s Word if our heart is not right.

I have seen preachers, street-preachers, Christians who seem to hate the people they are trying to save. They are so angry at them. They yell, they point their fingers at them. “It’s God righteous anger” they say. Well, maybe it is, but let me ask you this: are you so full of the Holy Spirit that you are absolutely, positively sure it is God’s anger and not your own that you’re venting?

Are we angry at our son, our daughter, our sister, our friend because of their sin? Because they haven’t done what we want them to do?  Are we angry at the world for changing around us?

As we stand for the truth are we full of spiritual pride because we are right and they are wrong?

Have we let a religious or a legalistic spirit take hold of us?

Listen my friends, this is really important as we stand for the truth of God’s Word. Because sinners know. They know I tell you. They know if you hate them. They know if you are angry. THEY know if your heart is not right.

They know the anointing of the Holy Spirit too. They don’t know what to call it but they see it and feel it.

They feel the difference between someone who is telling them the truth because the love of God constrains them to and someone who is telling them the truth because they have a religious spirit.

God sent me two homosexuals the very first night I street-preached. These two young men mocked me at first, they kissed in front of me (shock horror!), they laughed at me. But God loved those boys. His love shone through me to them and they stayed with me for one and a half hours. I told them the truth. I told them what they are doing is an abomination to God. Yes I used those words, but not in anger or contempt, and God’s love held them fast. I shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with them. At the end we all hugged, cried and I prayed for them. One fell to the ground crying, the other clutched his chest and begged me to stop praying. Six years later I am still in touch with the one who fell to the ground. He calls me his favourite Christian. He calls on me for help when he needs it and when he does I still speak the truth to him in love. I am believing that he will be saved one day.

The thing with grace and truth is that people in the world need the truth, oh how they are starving for it! And they need the grace of God to menorah-300x183temper it. It is speaking the truth in love that makes the difference. It is the truth that sets people free. Not one person will be truly saved by a  gospel that’s been sanctioned by this world. But not one person will be saved by speaking the truth in hate.

Let’s get our hearts right before our King and be full of His Spirit. Then His light shining through us will attract others to us so that we can speak the truth to them in love.

God bless!


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God’s Timing is Perfect

“I waited patiently for the Lord and He inclined to me and heard my cry…” Psalm god time40:1

 

God is always on time

He is never early, He is never late. He is a punctual God.

He is also a miracle-working God.

We see the evidence of God’s miraculous and perfect-timing in Esther.

Haman’s wrath against Mordecai had grown steadily by the day. This Jew who refused to bow or pay homage to him! How dare he? Who does he think he is anyway?

Finally the day came when Haman’s hatred is unleashed. Queen Esther invites Haman to a feast, and when he, being filled with pride and his own self-importance, is once again confronted by this humble man who will simply not bow to him in the gate, he has had enough!

He builds a gallows with the intention of suggesting to the King in the morning that Mordecai be hanged on it.

Haman goes to bed happily.

 

But God had other plans….

“That night the king could not sleep….” Esther 6:1

That one little sentence sets the ball rolling for the events to follow. The king not being able to sleep is seemingly insignificant, yet it is the very thing that God uses to set in motion the overthrow of the enemy. But even more than that, that seemingly insignificant event is the beginning of the honouring of God’s servant.

The King calls for the book of records to be read before him. It is found in the records that a man called Mordecai had uncovered a plot by two of the king’s eunuchs to “lay hands on King Ahasuerus”. Mordecai had saved the king’s life.

“Then the king said, ‘What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” Esther 6:3

Mordecai had been overlooked, but the king wanted to rectify that.

“So the King said, ‘Who is in the court?’ Now Haman had just entered the court of the king’s palace to suggest that the king hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.” Esther 6:4

We see God’s amazing timing here. We see God’s hand upon His servant, Mordecai. While the enemy was plotting for his downfall, God set events in motion that end up having Mordecai  honoured and the enemy being brought low.

“So Haman took the robe and the horse, arrayed Mordecai and led him on horseback through the city square, and proclaimed before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’ Afterward Mordecai went back to the King’s gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered.” Esther 6:11, 12

god on timeHallelujah!

Brothers and sisters, we do not need to fear when we have the Lord on our side. Our Father knows how to look after His own, and if you are a child of His then He will not let you down. Remember that ultimately Haman was killed on the very gallows that he had built for Mordecai. The very thing the enemy is trying to destroy you with will be the very means of his downfall.

Whatever your circumstance is, whatever your prayer need, the God who is outside of time, is always on time.

 

God bless,

Belinda 🙂