Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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Paul Brought the Gospel to Rome from Home Lockdown

Paul was under house-arrest in Rome for two years.  Chained to a prison guard, he couldn’t leave his own home.

“The Rise of A.I.” acrylic and gouache

Sound familiar…?

During his home-imprisonment he asked the Church to pray for him :

“and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that in it I may speak boldly as I ought to speak” Ephesians 6:19, 20 (emphasis mine)

Paul couldn’t go to church, he couldn’t street-preach, he couldn’t go to Synagogue.  Paul was physically restricted as soon as he arrived in Rome, and that’s how he stayed for two whole years.  But in it, in this very situation Paul was asking for prayer to be able to speak forth the gospel boldly.

Do we think Paul’s situation caught God by surprise?  Do we think He did not know that Paul’s arrival in Rome would be under hard circumstances? That His man would not be free to move about as previously?  No – it was in to this very situation that God brought Paul, and thus the gospel, to Rome.

At that time Rome was becoming the centre of the world’s wealth.  The art, the artists, the architects were moving there as it became recognised as the world’s most cosmopolitan city.  This place was of diverse culture, containing many different beliefs and ideas.  In some ways it was advanced, as in the case of women’s rights.  It was to this worldly city that God chose to send His man, chained and bound to one small house.

God’s strategy to evangelise a whole city was through a man bound to his own home.

Paul may have been restricted, but never is the Gospel of Jesus Christ restricted!

Never will it be restrained.

God still used Paul, even chained to a prison-guard, unable to leave his own home. One man, in one house, but in that one house God brought revival to Rome.

“So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.”  Acts 28:23

Do we think this Covid-19 pandemic has caught God by surprise? Do we think He had no idea all the churches would be shutdown and outlawed?  Of course He knew.  And it is into this very situation that He has called us.

The gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be stopped, no matter if our church buildings are shut.  The gospel will go forth.

The gates of hell will never prevail against His Church!  It’s time to recognise that this is how God has chosen to use us for this season.  God’s plans are not being stymied by the enemy, God is still Sovereign and from the Throne He has decreed that right now this is how His church will go forth.

Without high-tech sound systems, church buildings and programs, once again from the simplicity of our homes!  Prayer with our families, Bible studies online, prayer in the closet.  Could this be God’s plan…?

We have the internet, social media, telephones. We can walk around our neighbourhoods, dropping leaflets in letterboxes. We have many ways we can answer God’s call from our homes:

““Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”

Who will join me in saying “Here I am Lord, send me!”

“Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.” Acts 28:30,31

Blessings,

Belinda 🙂


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The Way to Get Through This

My husband was on a business trip in the
USA when the World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus a Pandemic.

Things had already started to become strange up until that point but on that day everything turned and people went crazy here in Australia.

Just like that, toilet paper, pasta, hand sanitizer was stripped from the shelves and by the time I got there I couldn’t find any.  I remember the anxiety as I walked into the shops to find bare shelves, three children to look after and my husband far away.

The burden of responsibility to look after my family lay heavily on my shoulders. At heart I am a homemaker, and when I couldn’t get the basics for my family it struck me much more forcibly than anything else. I wasn’t afraid of the actual virus, I still am not. But those bare shelves brought some fear up in me I never expected.

The Lord was so very kind to me. He began to wake me up every night in the middle of the night, in fact He is still doing it to this day. I would get up and go into my prayer closet.

just me and Him.

I would cry, sometimes just sob at His feet. It wasn’t just about the toilet paper. I felt something had shifted in the spiritual realm. I felt everything was different now. And boy did I want my husband home.

I’ve always been a pray-er but those times with the Lord at night became my lifeline, literally. Without them I would not have coped. He gave me the strength to meet each day. He taught me to trust Him in a way I never have before and He turned my mourning in to dancing.

I would go in with a heavy and burdened heart. And I would come out of my prayer closet rejoicing.

Truly in the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy. Really .

The joy that Christ gave me in those times became my strength for the day ahead.

Now we are in lockdown here in Australia, have been for two weeks. All the churches are shut, even the small ones. We are not allowed to meet in groups of more than 2, apart from our own household.

What do we do in such a situation? How do we get through with faith intact, with hope and peace?

It’s only in the Lords presence – and I can testify to it.

Every night He, in His grace, wakes me up still. It’s the only time I am alone now with a husband working from home and 3 kids locked out of school.

”where else would I go but to the Lord”

He is our strength, He is our hope and deliverer. Our shield and the horn of our salvation. Trust in Him, He never fails.

 

Bless you my brothers and sisters in this difficult season.

Belinda


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Rebuilding the Altar of the Lord

“No man is greater than his prayer life….failing here, we fail everywhere.” Leonard Ravenhill

It is time we rebuild the altar again brothers and sisters.  The Spirit of God is calling us to return to the prayer closet.

Remember the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel? Before the fire of God could fall on the offering, Elijah had to rebuild the altar of the Lord “that was broken down“.

Broken down… neglected…disused….Nobody cared enough to do something about it until Elijah came.    It was a time of backsliding in Israel. Evil king Ahab was ruling with his evil wife Jezebel.  Witchcraft and the occult was abounding, people were turning away from the true God and to lesser gods. Sound familiar?

And then Elijah comes to turn the hearts of the people back to the Lord.

Just like John the Baptist would do later, Elijah confronted the people with his holy life, and with his words:

“How long will you falter between two opinions?”

But they answered him not a word. How sad. When God’s people no longer seek Him they lose the conviction within them for the truth, they go silent on good and evil. Things that were once detestable to them slowly start to be tolerated. It’s a recipe for lukewarm-ness.

“Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come near to me.’ So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.” 1 Kings 18:30

Notice Elijah rebuilt the altar in front of the people. His life was an example to others, just as ours should be, particularly in ministry. We can’t call others to pray if we aren’t doing it ourselves.

The altar represents prayer, coming before the Lord and offering up the sacrifice of praise.

Let’s rebuild the altar again Church so that the fire of God can once again fall!

 

God bless!

 


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God’s Hidden Dealings with His Servants

When God calls someone to His service He begins by dealing with them in secret.

In a hidden place is where our ministry for God begins. Secretly, just you and Him, hidden away together. Like a lovers’ tryst. We meet with Him in the secret place and we tell Him all that’s in our hearts, our worries, our sins, our thoughts, our hopes and dreams. And He speaks to us, He shows us things, meets with us. It is in the secret place that He does His deepest work in us. When we meet with Him there is nothing He cannot do, for we willingly offer ourselves to Him, simply in the deliberate act of going to spend time with Him. Healing, deliverance, forgiveness, joy, cleansing, calling, commissioning, authority, anointing are all available in the secret closet of prayer.

Written on my heart in and in my spirit are the special times I have spent with the Lord in prayer, times that I will never forget.

It is where I got to know Jesus. My prayer closet used to be in my living room on the rug after everyone else had gone to bed. I remember one day in the sunshine I looked at that rug and was amazed to discover it was covered with many little dots all over it. At first I wondered what the circles could be. Suddenly I realised they were my teardrops, shed over many years in the presence of the Lord on that rug.

That rug was the first place I met the Lord and was broken under the weight of my sin. The rug was where He kept calling me and drawing me back to, like the beloved in the Song of Songs. I had young kids at the time and I remember through the exhaustion of days with toddlers I would long to get to night-time just so I could meet with Him again.

The Principle

The prayer closet was where Christ called me, commissioned me and got me to preach to Him the first time. He told me to begin the food pantry from our garage which lasted 8 years and springing off from that a prayer meeting was borne, a home fellowship began and people were saved.

That was my training ground. It was years of apprenticeship before my life’s work began. The secret place was where it all really begun, yet the fruit spread out in the open and things began to happen.

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in Secret shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:5-6).

When something is birthed in the Spirit in the secret-ness of prayer, then it is a true work of God and it will start to move out in to the open without our having to force it.

God said to Elijah, after he proclaimed a drought in Israel to evil King Ahab

“‘Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide thyself by the Brook Cherith…’ ” 1 Kings 17:1-3

Go hide thyself. Just you and me. And thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly… God had more work to do in Elijah before He would send him out for the huge victory at Mount Carmel. He had to be made ready, sharpened and polished for his work.

The Fruit

It was “after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah….saying “Go show thyself…” 1 Kings 18:1

When it was time and God had finished His preparatory work in Elijah then he was sent out from the Lord’s presence.

A true prophet, (one who speaks for God), has been with the Lord, spent time in His presence before he/she goes out and speaks to man on God’s behalf. And Elijah carried out from the Lord’s presence a word from God. It was to tell Ahab that “I will send rain on the earth.” 2 Kings 18:1

“…a man who kneels before God will stand before men.” Leonard Ravenhill

If we want to truly minister then it begins in secret, just you and God. When it is time, He will send you out to carry His Word to others and you will begin to bear fruit for Him.

You see it comes down to this: from where does it originate?

You want to work for God? From Where does your work originate: heaven or earth?

One is the heart of God, planned in the counsels of heaven and revealed and birthed through the Holy Spirit in His Church on earth. When the Spirit works through the Church eternal fruit is brought forth.

The other is the arm of flesh. Man looks around at the needs of man on earth or in the Church-system and plans what he can do to help. But there’s no divine imprint on it and it will be dead works because it originated on earth rather than in heaven.

 

This principle also applies to Moses, Christ Jesus and the Apostle Paul. All were dealt with secretly for years before God sent them forth on their divine missions. We are often in a hurry but God is not. God is after fruit that will last and He will spend much time and energy in preparing His servants for His work, after all the testimony of Christ on this earth is a stake! Let us seek God Himself in secret, and from that place of living relationship He will reward us openly.

 

God bless!

Belinda


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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