Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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First Time I Street-Preached it Wasn’t on the Street

The first time I street-preached it wasn’t on the street.IMG_2504

It was in my prayer closet – my daughter’s bedroom.

A hairbrush was my microphone, the Lord Jesus my audience.

Just me and Him.

I wept and pleaded for sinners to turn to God, to flee from the wrath that is to come. I preached my heart out, to Him.

Then I fell on my face and wept and wept. I was under the anointing and I knew He was pleased.

 

Mind you, it took a long time to get me to even this point. First there was the call to preach years before, then sometime later He commissioned me with Isaiah 40.

Both of these occurred when I was alone with Him in my prayer closet.

The commissioning was terrifying. I was so scared that I was shaking and ran out to my husband crying “God has just commissioned me! But I don’t know what for!”  I was almost too scared to ever return to the prayer closet again. Both times I knew He was calling me to something but I did not have a clear picture of what it was.

He had asked me “Will you feed the multitudes?” and I had said yes, but at the time I didn’t understand what that meant.

Then came the dreams and “visions”. One dream was of me standing on a box in the CBD of the city and preaching God’s coming judgment, warning people in suits to flee from the wrath that is to come.

Another dream was of hell. It so terrified me that in my dream I awoke and ran to my front door crying out “I have to warn people not to go there!”

There was the “vision” of me preaching during the day in the city with a certain huge guy standing next to me, almost as a bodyguard. (This was fulfilled last year).

Then I actually began going out to the street, Friday nights into the city. I didn’t preach for probably a year though. I spoke with people, prayed with them, handed out tracts. The pastor I went with kept encouraging me to preach but I’d say “No, no, I couldn’t”.

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Meanwhile Jesus was training me in my prayer closet. He was having me preach to Him. Sometime around this time I discovered two other occurrences of God’s similar training methods:

  • One was in Angus Buchan’s biography. This book details how God also first taught him to preach in his prayer closet, the cornfield. He would stand in the back of his truck and preach to the corn stalks.

 

  • The other occurrence was David Wilkerson. Before he went to the streets of New York God had him walk the fields around his home and pray and prophesy to the trees.

 

My first night of street-preaching, actually on the street, eventually arrived. I can’t remember why this particular night I said “Yes” when the pastor asked me to preach, but I did.

I got up there, terrified, microphone in one hand, Bible in the other. I deliberately held the open Bible two inches from my face as I read it so nobody could see me and I couldn’t see them. I read out John 3:16. Someone said “Amen” as they walked past me, then I turned the microphone off.

That was it.

That was all I could manage at the time. But I have been trained since, and I am still being trained.

And it was the Lord who trained me.

He trained me in the school of the prayer closet. He trained me by the Holy Spirit, through tears and through prayer. He taught me that when I preach I am to preach to Him. Even on the streets. Even surrounded by crowds. It is Him I am preaching to, it is Him.

I felt to write this today. It is the season of Pentecost and I feel it is for someone in particular to read, so I pray that this will bless, encourage and inspire whoever it is for.

In Jesus’s wonderful Name, Amen.

 

 


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Pentecost (and a Hard Question for You)

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I would like to share something of urgency, which God has put on my heart today.  Firstly though I need to do a little background on the Feast of Pentecost, which, so happens, is today.

Today (from sundown May 14-15) is the national observance of the Feast of Pentecost, or Shavuot, in Israel. Shavuot is considered to be the time when God gave Moses the Torah on Mount Sinai after the exodus from Egypt.  The giving of the Torah to Moses was by God Himself coming down to meet with him on the Mount in a cloud, accompanied by smoke and fire and a blast of God’s trumpet. This was to establish His covenant with His people and so Shavuot is celebrated as the biblical birth date of the nation of Israel.

The basic theme of Shavuot is “the harvest” and of giving thanks to God.  Passover marked the beginning of the Spring harvest and on the Feast of First fruits the first fruits of a sheaf of barley was required to be presented before the Lord, as a wave offering in thanksgiving for the harvest.  From the next day, seven weeks were counted until wheat harvest.  This is why Pentecost is also called the “Feast of Weeks”.

Why is this relevant to us?  Because God works by His prophetic calendar. In the year AD 30, on the day of Pentecost, something else of great importance was birthed.  At Passover Christ had died as the Lamb of God, at Feast of First Fruits He rose again, then 50 days after His resurrection, on the Day of Pentecost, the Church was born.

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  Acts 2:1-4

God once again used fire, wind and other demonstrations of the Holy Ghost to establish a covenant with His people.  This was also a time of great harvest, with many thousands of people being saved and brought into the Church at once.

So this leads to what the Holy Spirit has impressed on my heart this afternoon.  Over the centuries since the Church was born at Pentecost there have been other times of great harvest and the ingathering of souls.  As Peter said, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.” (Acts 2:17, 18) Times of the outpouring of God’s Spirit have been recorded through history.  There was the Great Awakening traced to the Moravians in 1727, there was Whitefield in 1742, John Wesley in the 18th century, Finney in the 1830’s, DL Moody in the late 19th century, the Welsh revival in 1904, Asuza Street in 1906 – just to name a few.

But will God do it again? Will there be another time of a great outpouring of His Spirt, of revival, before the end of the age?  It is my wholehearted belief that it will be so.

(It is not my intention here to prove that God will once again bring revival.  I can recommend the following books if you would like to pursue this question further.  One is Leonard Ravenhill’s “Why Revival Tarries”, the other is “In the Day of Thy Power” by Arthur Wallis.)

The scripture that God impressed upon me today was this:

“And he said, ‘Thus says the Lord, make this valley full of ditches.  For thus says the Lord, you shall not see wind, neither shall you see rain, yet that valley shall be filled with water…” 2 Kings 3:16, 17

God required Judah and Israel to prepare for the coming outpouring of the water which He was to send by making the valley full of ditches.  This was so when the water came it would fall into these catchment areas and not simply run-off and be lost and wasted.  This is what God is speaking to His Church even in this day.   It is no secret that water can be a symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Bible.  He is saying to prepare for the coming outpouring of the Spirit – by making ditches in the valley to catch the water as it flows through.

I guess the Israelites must have dug into the desert floor with some sort of spade instruments.  It can’t have been an easy task to make a valley “full of ditches”.  But while it was probably hard, it wasn’t impossible, and they did do it.

How do we make ditches today?  We need to dig into the hardness of human hearts with the instrument of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The hardness will be confronted with the power of the gospel and pride will be broken down when met with the Word of God.

Jesus said in Matthew 9:38 “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the labourers are few, Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

God needs labourers to go out into the harvest once again and gather in the lost.   God needs us to warn them that without Him, they will die.  I am not being melodramatic.  One thing God impressed upon me today is His urgency to have sinners turn to Him.  He says :

“Say unto them, ‘As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?” Ezekial 33:11

This is serious.  If we truly believe that we are in the last days and if we truly believe that Jesus is coming back as the Lion of the tribe of Judah to judge the world in a Day of wrath, then we need to warn people.  It is God’s heart that none should perish.   But He has entrusted to us the precious task of preaching the gospel, of warning, of being watchmen.  And He actually, really expects us to do it.

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for[a] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.”  Ezekiel 33:7-9

This is not a call for an elite set of evangelists, or for someone with a special anointing, this is a call for every Christian.  Jesus Himself said “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

I am sorry if this makes you uncomfortable or if it bursts your happy bubble, but God’s heart breaks for the lost every single day.  And ours should too.

Of course, the very first thing that occurs when we are confronted by a hard truth, me included, is our sense of inadequacy.  That I am unfit for the task, that I am too weak, too female, or too imperfect hits me most of the time.  But God says we are not inadequate, we are not incapable.  He has called us for this very reason and He will put His words in our mouths.

Listen to this:  Ninevah turned from their sin when Jonah got over himself and warned them of their impending judgment.

They turned.

And they lived.

God is calling for someone to “make this valley full of ditches” in these last days.

Will it be you?

“The fact is, Christians are more to blame for not being revived, than sinners are for not being converted.  And if Christians are not awakened, they may know assuredly that God will visit them with His judgments.  How often God visited the Jewish church with judgments because they would not repent and be revived at the call of His prophets.”  Charles Finney