Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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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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Preaching the Kingdom and a Stolen iPhone

While I was preaching at the homeless mission on Saturday night my mobile phone was stolen.

It was an iPhone and contained my life on it – emails, access to this blog, photos, contacts etc. I saw the young lady touch my phone and I knew in my spirit that she was going to take it, but while I preached it didn’t even concern me, it simply left my mind.

But when I had finished it hit me that she had disappeared and so had my phone. And then I got annoyed, frustrated and concerned. Identity-theft, violation of privacy, indignation at her audacity all these thoughts and emotions were swirling around in my mind while I searched for her within the building and outside, all in vain.

And the other thing in my mind: that I was already being tested on the very thing I had just finished preaching about. I had spoken about broken-ness being the qualification in God’s kingdom for ministry. God’s breaking of the power of the flesh, the crucifixion of it. How He wants us to no longer react from the soulish realm, the realm of emotion and intellect, but instead to walk in the Spirit and live in His kingdom of love, forgiveness and mercy.

So we traced my phone by GPS and saw that she had walked down the road about 10 minutes and got onto a train. After that we lost trace of her.

I was mad, I won’t deny it. How dare she steal my phone? I was also mad at myself. Why didn’t I retrieve my phone when I saw her touching it?

I tried to call my stolen phone three times and she ignored it. She sent a message to one of my contacts telling them to tell me that I am not getting my phone back. I began to imagine all sorts of revenge scenarios.  What I would say to her had I the chance! Thank God He didn’t let me talk to her then.

One of the things I had just preached about was how the natural man wants revenge and to “get his own back”.

I went home and changed all my passwords on everything. Then I sent her a message. A message to my own phone which was now hers. I knew her name because we had chatted before she stole my phone.

I told her that I forgave her for breaking my trust and stealing my phone. I told her I prayed she would find peace and blessed her and I shared the gospel with her over text. I prayed that God would convict her and bring her into His kingdom.

The next day we disabled the stolen phone and I got a new phone. Because the old phone was disabled I was now able to re-use my old number. That’s when the phone calls began.

A blocked number rang the first time and I answered. It was a guy asking who I am? I wouldn’t tell him but asked who he was. Then cursing and obscenities down the phone from him and a female in the background. I hung up. They rang back, my husband answered this time.

“Tell Belinda she’s not getting her phone back….” Then he told me husband all sorts of lies about me. Cursing and obscenities again.

They proceeded to ring all through the evening and even through the night. We obviously stopped answering the phone and rang the police. They advised me to change my number, which I have now done.

All I can say is that the devil was obviously very stirred up and was trying to provoke a fleshly reaction from me. If I had given in to it surely it would have been a defeat. But if we react in the kingdom way, of love and forgiveness, of blessing those who curse us, of praying for those who spitefully use us, then we will always have the victory over the works of darkness!

Blessings! 🙂


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How to Preach in the Spirit

On Saturday night I preached at an inner-city mission. And praise the Lord a prostitute was saved!

After all these years of street-preaching and never being invited to preach anywhere, I have actually been invited to preach monthly at this inner city Mission for the homeless and disadvantaged.Image result for picture of the prostitute jesus

The thing is I don’t know how to do “normal” preaching. I can’t get three points and then a conclusion and stand behind a pulpit.

As part of my Chaplaincy course I’ve just been reading an essay on how to be an “Effective Communicator” as a preacher.  Even though this article does make some valid points, I find it rather sad that it is all about how to get your points across, how to make sure the audience remembers what you’ve said, how to be an effective communicator etc etc.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t seem to come into it at all – it’s all fleshly business-speak.  In these days of downloadable sermons and effective sound-bytes there is a need for anointed preaching again. For goodness sake let’s get back to the power of the Holy Spirit!  So here’s my “how-to” list to preach in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Preaching in the Spirit

  • Be in an intimate relationship with Jesus. If you’re not, then please don’t preach.  Really.
  • Be constantly in the Word.  It just needs to be a part of you.
  • Check your heart. If there’s anything between you and God deal with it immediately.
  • Cry. Yes, weep. This is hugely important.  Weeping is the key to the anointing.  This is something that cannot be forced, so ask God to break you for the sins of the people you will be preaching to. Preaching should ALWAYS come from a place of brokenness but it usually never does, and that’s why power in preaching is so rare these days.
  • Ask Him for His heart, for His burden, for what He wants to say.   Even if you only get one scripture from Him it is enough. It is better to preach that one verse for 5 minutes if it’s from His heart than to preach for 30 minutes from your flesh.
  • Yield yourself to Him and His will. Ask Him to have His way in you and for you to be a vessel for Him.
  • Pray before you go: For Him to fill you with His Spirit; for the people’s hearts to be prepared; for the Spirit to preach through you right into the spiritual realm. You will need to resist the devil – all his methods, his agents, his interruptions, anything he would seek to do to disrupt or interfere with God’s message being delivered.
  • Cry again.
  • Thank God for the victory we have in Christ Jesus.
  • Go in Holy Ghost boldness, knowing it’s not about you, but about Him.

I preached Isaiah 1:18 on Saturday night: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”

The Holy Spirit had impressed upon me that it was all about being honest with God, calling a sin a sin.  So that’s what I preached. Afterwards there was a time of ministry and the prostitute came to me and we cried together and she was saved, praise the Lord. The pastor said at the end of the night that there had been a shift in the Spirit tonight, that there was a new honesty and people were being real.

And that’s the point: a shift in the spiritual realm. T Austin Sparks called it “preaching to the back of things.”

Preaching to the flesh is a waste of time. The flesh cannot receive the things of the Spirit. People may feel inspired in the emotional realm for a while, but nothing changes.  No, we must preach to the back of things. We preach to the angels, the devils, to the spirit of man, to Christ Himself. And that’s when things happen.

I’m happy to answer any questions about this article!

Blessings,

Belinda :0)