Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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“But God…”

You’ve been heading one way…”But God…”

You’ve received a diagnosis… “But God…”

You have nowhere to live… “But God…”

Your marriage is struggling… “But God…”

You don’t know how you will get through this…”But God….”

 

But God…

But God

 

These words are like a great signpost in the middle of the path of your life.

Sept '15. Pastel, pencil, conte crayon

Sept ’15. Pastel, pencil, conte crayon

They signal God’s intervention in our lives.  They signal God’s mercy in caring enough to reach down and move in our circumstances.

 

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us” Ephesians 2:4

 

“But God…” there it stands, two words that are full of promise. These two words can change the course of your future.

But God… that is all it takes to raise the dead to life.

But God… is all that is needed to change your direction

But God… lifts us up from the ash-heap to the heavenly places in Christ

 

But God… don’t walk past the signpost. Don’t accept that this is how it just is. Don’t give in. Don’t believe the words of man.

 

Stop. Look up.

There is God’s Word “But God….”

Take hold of a promise of God.

 

Know that if God can take you, who was dead in trespass and sin, and intervene to make you alive together with Christ, then God can certainly intervene in your situation now.

There is a way, and it’s God’s way. He has an answer, He has an outcome.

Take hold of “But God…”

 

🙂

 

Related posts:

God’s Victories Look Like Defeats

Suffering: According to the Pattern

The Place of Enlargement

 

 


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This is my Beloved, and This is my Friend

Drawn August 2015. Pencil/pastel

Drawn August 2015. Pencil/pastel

He is chief among ten thousand

His head is like finest gold

His body is carved ivory

With sapphires laid in the mould

 

This King of kings

This Lord of lords

Surely none can compare

Yet who may be this blessed one

To Him who is “All Fair”?

 

This is the Bride He’s purchased

With His own spotless blood

There is no blemish in her

She’s made perfect in holy Love

 

The Heavenly Storehouse is opened

To provide a bridal dress

Precious stones to adorn

Sapphire, emerald and amethyst

 

She will be made ready

And will watch for Him and wait

For the King will not tarry long

Time is getting late

 

(Based on Song of Solomon)

 


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God’s Prescription for Persecution

1160_doctors_prescriptionWhen Jesus sent out His disciples two by two He knew he was sending them out as sheep amongst wolves. He knew that they would be met with persecution and rejection along the way.   He knew the hearts of the people had by and large grown callous in their religiosity.

Yet He still sent them out.

Jesus gave them one prescription to be able to withstand the ongoing rejection and persecution He knew they were to encounter :

“…do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28

He taught them the fear of God.

This is God’s prescription for persecution.  This is the only way ongoing rejection and persecution can be met with strength and courage and be withstood.

Jesus still sends out His disciples today.  He has given all of us the Great Commission.  He knows that we will be rejected and persecuted for the message we bring to the world, yet He still sends us.  And the prescription that was good for the early disciples is still good for us today too.

You see as God’s mouthpiece in a fallen world, above all else we must fear God.

You cannot simultaneously fear both God and man.2014_03_16-PM-The-Fear-of-God-vs-The-Fear-of-Man-580x200

We all fear either one or the other.

The one you fear will be the one who dictates your life. The one you fear will determine where you stand.

Why did Jesus command us to fear God?  Because He knows that:

“The fear of man brings a snare.” Proverbs 29:25

  • The fear of man contaminates pure truth.
  • The fear of man leads to bondage.
  • The fear of man brings fear of rejection.
  • The fear of man shuts your mouth when you should speak.
  • The fear of man changes the truth of God’s Word into something more palatable.
  • The fear of man brings compromise.

And thus the fear of man cannot please God.

God’s prophets are those who will stand in the midst of rejection. These are ones whom will not stop speaking truth even in the face of resistance, hostility and open aggression. They will not bow to the pressure of man. God’s mouthpieces are those who understand the consequences of speaking on His behalf, and may even be afraid to, yet they will still speak it.

God’s ambassadors are those He sends forth in the fear of Him.fear

You cannot simultaneously please both God and man.

Choose which one you are going to fear, because that is the one you are going to serve.  The one whom you try to please is the master to whom you bow.

If you want to get far in this world, to be accepted, promoted, have lots of Facebook friends, to be asked to speak at conferences, if that’s what ultimately motivates you, then you fear man.

But if you are willing to let it go: the popularity, friends, followers of your blog, even family, if you are willing to follow Christ whatever the cost, to please Him, to obey Him, to be faithful to Him. If what motivates you is to one day hear these words:

“Well done my good and faithful servant…”

then you fear God.  And no matter what persecution comes your way, even unto death, you will have the courage and the strength to withstand.

 

Blessings, Belinda

 

Next post….       

  • How to overcome the fear of man
  • How to get the fear of God


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How to Receive a Prophet’s Reward

When Jesus sent out His disciples He told them that there are two possible reactions to them preaching the gospel: either they would be received, or they would be rejected.reward

This is a fact, for God has given humanity freewill, and as such every one of us is free to accept or reject the prophetic Word of God. However whilst we do have this freedom, it must be acknowledged that with every exercise of our freewill, every decision and every action we take there is a consequence in the spiritual realm which alters the material world.  And it is true in this case as well.

God has laid out in His Word the specific consequences for both receiving the prophetic Word and the rejecting of it. In fact, He holds the reception of His Word as so important that He has said :

He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward…” Matthew 10:41

Why is the reception of a prophet so important to Him? And what is the prophet’s reward?

 

The Importance of the Prophetic

shofar-blownThe prophet represents God. He goes forth from the presence of God and speaks what God has given him to speak. The prophet speaks the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is not just speaking the Word, it is speaking it forth in the power of an anointing borne out of intimacy with Jesus Himself. The prophet is the ambassador of Christ in this world, and so the prophet and his message are inextricably linked. A true prophet cannot be separated from the message he brings.

We see this with Ezekiel. God had a message for Israel and He had His prophet to act out what he was proclaiming to Israel. He had to lie down for a certain number of days as a sign against rebellious Israel. (Ezekiel 4)

One cannot receive the prophet himself, whilst rejecting the message he brings. And vice versa is true.

Neither can the true prophet be separated from God. When God sends someone to speak forth His Word, then he/she is speaking it on God’s behalf. Rejection of the prophet and his message therefore is rejection of God and His Word.

He who receives you receives me, and He who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” Matthew 10:40

 

The Way of the Flesh

The rejection of the Word of God is normal. What I mean by that is that it is the way of human flesh.   The flesh always resists the Spirit. It always has and it always will. The flesh has its eyes blinded and its heart hardened.

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

I don’t know about you, but since I was born again I left behind “normal”. I don’t want the way of the flesh anymore, I am desperate for the way of the Spirit. As followers of Christ, we who are now living by the Spirit should be able to receive and hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church regardless of whether it is a message of encouragement/edification or whether it is a message of correction/reproof. You see, the Holy Spirit wants to work in us to conform us to the image of Christ and sometimes the old needs to be torn down first before the new can be built.

 

Rejection of the Prophetic Word

The consequence of the rejection of the prophetic Word is judgment and death.

This may sound harsh, but there is a spiritual principle at work here.

For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” Galations 6:8

Because the Word of God is alive (Hebrews 4:12) when it is received it takes root in order to bring forth life, just like a little seed.

However when the Word of God is rejected, that place where life was meant to dwell becomes a vacuum. Nature abhors a vacuum and something has to take that place.   What enters in is corruption.  When Christ is actively rejected after the Word has been preached, a new level of corruption enters into that individual/church/city.

Jesus told the disciples what action to take with those who reject them and their words:

And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorra in the day of judgment than for that city!” Matthew 10:14, 15

The action of the shaking of dust from one’s feet is an act of judgment against that place.

“The Jews thought the land of Israel so peculiarly holy, that when they came home from any heathen country, they stopped at the borders and shook or wiped off the dust of it from their feet, that the holy land might not be polluted with it. Therefore the action here enjoined was a lively intimation, that those Jews who had rejected the Gospel were holy no longer, but were on a level with heathens and idolaters.” John Wesley

Jesus brings Sodom and Gomorra into the picture as a picture of God’s judgment.  It was an awful judgment of fire and brimstone against awful sin. Yet they were judged apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ – it had not been preached to them. How much more severely will God judge the place to which the gospel has been sent and rejected?

It is the same with us. Now that we are followers of Christ, partakers of the grace of God, born again from death into life, how much more should we be able to hear from God?

As the Parable of the Sower demonstrates, the result of that seed of the Word not being able to penetrate and take root is

nothing. Fruitlessness, barrenness, lifelessness.

You see if God wants to speak something to you and me, then He wants us to have ears to hear it. There is always a purpose to God speaking – and that is to bring forth life.  To close our hearts and our ears to Him is actually an act of disobedience. Remember Saul – he shut his ears to God’s instructions and because of his disobedience was rejected as king.  Remember Lot’s wife. She was specifically told not to look back at Sodom. She did, and became a pillar of salt. Death entered in.  Remember Adam and Eve. Specifically instructed not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God warned them of the consequence of disobedience : death.

“You shall not eat it….lest you die” Genesis 3:3

They ate it and death entered in.

Jesus Himself exhorts us to be able to hear. Over and again He says “He who has ears to hear let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches.”

Why? Because He knows that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. He says that seeing and hearing leads to understanding in the heart, conversion and healing. (see Matthew 13:14-15).

 

It Is Not Too Late

I want to encourage you that God is merciful  It is not too late to hear Him.

I feel that there are some in the Body of Christ who have rejected a Word from the Lord because it didn’t sit well with their flesh. Perhaps it seemed too big, perhaps you felt inadequate to receive it. Perhaps it was a reproof against a specific sin you didn’t want to give up or didn’t know how to give up. This rejection of God’s Word has brought about a measure of death in your spiritual life and you are now stagnating.

Let me tell you that until this has been dealt with you will not move forward. If you have any controversy with God then it needs to be sorted today. Get in His presence and be honest with Him. Let go of pride, let go of inadequacy. Let go of Self altogether and just allow Him to minister to you. Confess your sin of disobedience and ask Him to open your ears.  And then do what He tells you to do.

This is the way Life will flow again.

 

Reception of the Prophetic Word

jesus feetHe who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward….” Matthew 10:41

Wow – this is almost too amazing to believe! God cares so much about the reception of His Word and His messenger that whoever receives a prophet, because he is a prophet, shall receive the same reward a prophet receives.

Whilst this is amazing it is also quite logical.  Considering that the rejection of God’s word is the norm of human flesh, then the one whom can receive it the Spirit of Life must already be working on in some measure.  The one who can receive from God has not a hardened heart nor deafened ears. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet of God, is receiving the prophet as an ambassador of Christ. Therefore whoever is receiving a prophet ultimately receives God Himself.

He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives me receives Him who sent Me”

Once again from the Parable of the Sower: “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces, some hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew 13:23

When the seed of the Word is received in fertile soil, God is able to move and new life springs up as a consequence.

 

So What is the Prophet’s Reward?

Jesus said to His disciples “He who finds His life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39

This the reward of a prophet. One who goes forth and speaks the Word of God, not fearing man but fearing God. One who stands up against the forces of evil and declare God’s truth. One who loses his reputation for the sake of Christ. One who confesses Christ in the face of persecution and rejection. One who does not bow to the pressure of man. One who puts Christ before himself. This is a true prophet and this one will find eternal life because, for the sake of the gospel, he has laid down his temporary life in this world.

And the one who receives the prophet and his words will share in his reward of eternal life because he has received him.  Because rather than resisting the prophetic Word in the flesh, he has heard by the Spirit.

Because in his humility he has identified with the prophet, God will identify him with the prophet’s reward.

 

This is a wonderful topic with much depth. I cannot cover it all in this one post but God willing I am going to write more on this. It needs to be stated that not all “prophets” are true prophets of God.   There are many false prophets in the world whom we should not receive, nor receive their words.

Next post…. false prophets and testing the spirits


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Responding to the Voice of God

One of the very first things the Lord taught me when I started street-preaching was that I am not responsible for how people respond. My work was to simply speak forth the Word

Sorry....I just had to...

Sorry….I just had to…

of God.  He showed me that I am not to consider how or even if the message will be received, I am simply to speak it forth in obedience.

If people respond well, praise God. If they don’t, praise God anyway.

I have seen many different responses to the preaching of the gospel. Sometimes there is conviction by the Spirit and sometimes reception to the Word of God. But most often it is this:

  • Demonic manifestations, including cursing Jesus, foul/sexual language and personal abuse
  • Shaking heads sadly
  • Turning off the PA or trying to steal my microphone from my hand
  • Laughing and mocking
  • Hardness of heart, those who are completely unreceptive/unresponsive to the gospel

The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13) demonstrates that there is a variety of different grounds of reception to the word of God. Whilst many different responses are possible, the one I dislike encountering the most is the last one. I would much rather encounter demonic manifestations or outright aggression to the Word of God than the completely unresponsive, hard-hearted receptions I get from some. Why? Because with the aggressive/demonic I know something of the Word has penetrated somewhere and it is bringing about a response.

But the proud, unreceptive person is just that – unreceptive. Unable and unwilling to receive of God. They are able to stand right in front of me while I am preaching about hell or about the amazing love of God and send a text message. Nothing penetrates.

Whilst I must keep going and not let that deter me from my mission, there is One who cares deeply how His Word and how His prophetic voice are received. That is, of course, God.

Standing right between the parable of the Sower and Christ’s explanation of that parable is this passage:

listening“Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused;  they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes,   hear with their ears,  understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’

But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.” Matthew 13:13-16

And so I have to ask: Do our eyes see? Do our ears hear?

You see, each of those responses listed above from unregenerate sinners, I have also encountered in the church (excluding the cursing of Christ).

Beloved, this should not be so.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches.”

Are we able to receive of God? Am I able to?

Oh yes I know we are Christians. I know we know lots about the Bible and about God. But are we able to actually receive from Him?

Have we learnt so much over the years, and been to church for so long that we now know it all? Has the earth of our heart become stony again?

Can the seed of the word of God still penetrate? Or is it only possible when we hear a “positive” word that is complimentary or affirming to our flesh in some way?

Can we be reproved? Or are we immediately on the defense? What if God wanted to correct us and what if He sent an “unlikely” prophet to do it? Would we be able to receive from Him?

Or would we reject the prophet and his words?

God takes very seriously the reception or rejection of His prophetic Word and there are consequences to both responses.

 

Next post….

  • the consequences of the reception and the rejection of the prophetic word
  • Testing the spirits


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The Prophetic Voice

I have a Word from God.  Judge it, accept or reject it.  Whatever, but this is it:shofar-blown

What this generation needs more than ever is the Prophetic Voice.

A prophetic voice under the anointing of the Spirit to cut through the clouded numbness that has settled over the Church.

A prophetic voice to divide truth from confusion.  But even more than that: the prophetic voice to speak forth the oracles of God.

Don’t you see? We are now so bogged down with questions and confusion.  What to do about/with homosexuals, how to deal with transgenders, how to appeal to the youth, how to stop people leaving our churches.

To hell with all that!  What we really need is prophetic voices raised up.

Don’t you see? We are now in a period the church has never seen before.  A time of such manifest wickedness and gross darkness.  The things we’ve been busy with in church over the last few decades ain’t cutting it anymore.  How are we to answer these things? With endless discussions, conversations and conferences?  There’s no time anymore to mess around.  If you’ve been waiting for God to do something then I am here to tell you what it is:

He is telling you to lift up your voice now, and be not afraid.

Now more than ever we need those who are unafraid to stand in the midnight hour. We need men and women with the courage of their convictions to speak forth the Word of truth.  Once again we need WATCHMEN TO STAND ON THE WALLS.  To take up the Sword of the Spirit in the power of the Spirit.  To cut through the crap! I’m sorry but that is the least offensive word I can use for what I see.

I see the Church bowed down under a weight of confusion.  I see a Church struggling to cope and turning to the wisdom of the world.  I see a Church in its sad desire to be pleasing to this world ultimately conforming to this world and losing its witness.  I see a Church in the depths of horrendous spiritual adultery.

I see a Church turned in on itself.  I hear more messages about Self than about Christ.  I hear the psycho-babble of heathens infiltrating the pulpit.  I hear calls to “find yourself” from ministers of the gospel.  The Spirit is grieved and my heart breaks.

But there is a cry from His heart that is breaking forth amongst the remnant.  That cry is for the Sword to be picked up again.  To be wielded in the courage, power and strength of the Holy Spirit.

I have seen it I tell you.  When the Word of God goes forth in power a cry rises up from the Church.  She recognises her Master’s voice and she is desperate and hungry to hear it again.  I’ll tell you something else: the world also recognises it.  They may reject it, but when there’s an anointing they know it and they respect it.

Redeeming-The-TimeThat is the only way forward now O People of the Cross.  The only thing that can cut through now is the Sword of the prophetic voice.  There is no time left for anything else.

“Lift it up your voice with strength

Lift it up, be not afraid” Isaiah 40:8

Lift it up! Lift it up in your homes.  Lift it up in your work place, lift it up in your church, lift it up on Facebook, lift it up on Twitter, lift it up in the streets. Lift it up be not afraid, lift it up!

 

Holy Spirit bless this word to go forth, in Jesus’ Name Amen

 

 


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Bible Prophecy: Damascus and Hamath

City of Damascus

In view of current events in Syria, two prophecies are worth considering. (There are other scriptures of interest concerning these cities, but will not be referred to in this short post.)

The two scriptures are:

Jeremiah 49: 23-27 (NIV)

23Concerning Damascus:

“Hamath and Arpad’ are dismayed, for they have heard bad news. They are disheartened, troubled like the restless sea.  Damascus has become feeble, she has turned to flee and panic has gripped her; anguish and pain have seized her, pain like that of a woman in labor.  25Why has the city of renown not been abandoned, the town in which I delight?  26Surely, her young men ° will fall in the streets; all her soldiers will be silenced in that day,” declares the lord Almighty

27“I will set fire to the walls of Damascus; it will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad”

Isaiah 17:1 (NIV)

1 An oracle concerning Damascus:

“See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. . . “

Jeremiah’s prophecy is found in an end section of his book where God tells him of the judgments to come against the Nations, as well as some cities specifically mentioned. Right now Hamath and Damascus are the focus of our interest.

Isaiah’s prophecy is found early on in the book. It too occurs in the section dealing with judgment against the Nations and, in this case, where Damascus is specifically mentioned.

It is not our intention here to go into God’s reasons for His judgment against the Nations or cities, but to consider these scriptures in the light of current events. We certainly do not want to make light of these judgments or to “look forward” to their fulfilment. They are severe and final when they take place but, for us, they are important points on the prophetic path God’s has laid out.

(As a word of caution, when considering God reasons for judgment, be careful not to take a current world view which is that if these Nations, or cities, simply followed a democratic process all would be in order. God does not look at democracy. He looks at the actions of mankind in relation to His commandments. Keep in mind that democracy is a flawed man-made system. It has been said, by Churchill amongst others, that democracy is a bad system but it is the best we have.)

Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world and, unlike other cities in the region, including even Jerusalem, it has never been destroyed. In other words, the prophecy in Isaiah has never been fulfilled. Damascus is only a short distance to the north of Israel and is the capital of present-day Syria.

Damascus was part of David’s and Solomon’s kingdom. It was also the city where Paul was headed specifically to persecute Christians. On his way there he was confronted by Jesus and lost his sight. It was in Damascus that Jesus told Ananias to go and lay hands on Paul because Paul was His “chosen instrument” to take the Word to the Gentiles, their kings and the people of Israel. In the house in Straight Street, where Paul was staying, Ananias laid hands on him whereupon his sight was restored and he was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 9: 1-19) NIV.damascus-pigeons

Straight Street is still there to this day!

So clearly Damascus is a city with an important past, yet God says He will destroy it and it will become “a heap of ruins”.

Hama, which lies some 50 kilometres directly north of Homs, is almost certainly the Biblical city of Hamath, within provincial Hamath. Homs is about 150 kilometres north of Damascus. While Damascus came under David’s and Solomon’s kingdoms, these other two cities did not, although they were both under Solomon’s control. Since at least 1925 Hama has been the source of a number of uprisings, mainly from Islamic fundamentalists.

Currently Syria is in the throes of a violent civil war; the roots of which run deep and which are extremely complicated. We have seen images of the devastation taking place within the country, especially in Homs, Hama and to some extent in Damascus itself. We have heard about the huge numbers killed, well over a hundred thousand now, the two million or more who have fled the country and are living in tents in the desert, often without enough food and other problems. It is a situation so bad that the average person not directly involved is unable to fully comprehend it.

We know that both the Syrian and opposition forces are well armed and have the means to turn Damascus into a “heap of ruins”. Could one or other of these adversaries in a final act of desperation resort to such tactics? And what if Israel is brought into the conflict and needs to defend itself? These are merely possibilities leading to the destruction of Damascus. Certainly there is a lot of pain and suffering going on right now throughout Syria as well as in Damascus, Homs and Hama.

damascusThe question we pose is this: “Is it possible that we are witnessing an aspect of God’s prophetic Word about to be fulfilled”?

A sobering question!

We do not say it is – although we do urge readers to be aware of Bible prophecy and current events in the Middle East and, above all, to keep their focus on Jesus.

 

Chris, from our fellowship, has an interest in Bible prophecy and from time to time will share his views with us on current events and how they relate to prophecy in this new series “Bible Prophecy”.