Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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Wisdom From my Homeless Friend Shaz

“You tell me this”, said Shaz* as we sat over coffee, “You tell me: if there was a homeless person lying in the gutter, would it be a Christian or a druggie that stopped and helped him?  It would be the druggie every time.”

The parable of the Good Samaritan came to mind.  And I knew she was right.

I said “I agree with you Shaz.”

That stopped her for a second.

We had met for a coffee, but when we got there she refused to have one. Said she’s not paying that amount for a coffee.  I offered to buy her one but she refused that as well.  So I drank my coffee and she sat opposite me with nothing.  Instead she had the sugar bowl.  With a spoon she stirred and stirred as she spoke.  The constant stirring was mesmerising and I had to tear my eyes away from it.  Also it was easier than looking in to her tormented eyes the whole time.

But when I agreed with her, she stopped stirring for a second and said,

“Ha – we agree on something. What do we do now?”

Shaz’s and my relationship isn’t an easy one.  To be honest, I have no idea how to handle her.  And that’s something I constantly say to the Lord, believe me.

Before Shaz, I thought I was pretty experienced with all sorts of people.  When we had our home church for the outcasts there were times where we had seven heroin addicts sitting around our table at once for lunch.  We have had neo-nazi’s in our home, murderers, profoundly mentally disturbed people, lonely people, homeless ones, ice addicts, people I met while street preaching, whoever God sent.  They were difficult and God always gave us grace for each one.

I first met Shaz in March.  I preached at the homeless mission in the city and she was there.  Full of anger, bitterness, hard, cold as anything, she told me what her father had done to her from a terribly young age.  She asked me how God could forgive someone like that if he repented.  And why would she want to go to a place (heaven) where that animal might possibly be? She spat at me that nobody has been able to help her, even Christians.

As I listened to her story my heart broke.  And she was right too, I didn’t know how to help her. What the heck do I say to this woman who had been so wounded by the one who should have protected her?  ‘Oh God’, I cried out in my heart, ‘help me!  I don’t know what to do! I don’t know what to say to her.’

I didn’t know what to do, so I just put my arms around her little body, my head on her shoulder and cried.  I sobbed. I said I am so, so sorry that this happened to you and I was. I cried and cried as she stood there silent, as stiff as a board while I wet her shoulder with my tears.

Then she moved away from me and I heard her swearing and cursing as she left.  I said to God that I am sorry I failed.  I couldn’t get through to her and I had no idea how to help her.

Two weeks later she was back at the mission.

She came over to me and said roughly, “the compassion you showed me that other night saved my life.  I was going to go home and neck myself but after I met you I didn’t want to anymore.”

Then she swore and cursed Christians and left.

And pretty much that has been our relationship since.  She clings to me, she pushes me away.  She seeks me out, she runs and hides.  Like a puppy who’s been abused and is scared of being hurt again.  One time she came up behind me at the mission and hugged me.  She literally clung to me.  The anointing and love of the Holy Spirit came upon me so strongly that I just cried and prayed in tongues while I hugged her back.  And she clung and clung.  Then she ran out of the building.

As we sat at coffee that morning she cursed and called me a hypocrite. Everything I said to her was wrong, and she told me off the whole time.  It was exhausting.

I left feeling like I had failed, yet there was an inexplicable joy in my spirit.

Two days later in the mail I got a card from Shaz in child-like, painstakingly neat handwriting saying that she can’t tell me this to my face but I am the only true friend she has ever had and that she loves me.

She said she doesn’t know how to be with “normal” people and that is why she hangs out with the street-people.

I cry for these ones. These ones who haven’t known love.

Not long after this we visited a local Baptist church, a good and decent church we sometimes go to.  The pastor explained that they want to build a bigger auditorium to be able to seat more people at once to cut down on the number of services over weekends.  To do this they are raising $2 million to replace the perfectly good auditorium they already have.  I looked around and I knew that they would get that $2 million.

I cry for the church.

 

 

*not her real name

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Diary of a Girl Street-Preacher…and her Teenage Daughter

Just how long can I get away with calling myself a “girl” anyway when I have an almost 15-year-old daughter…?

I’m not sure, but I’ll see how long I can push it.

Tonight Lucy came to the streets with me… it was such a blessing to have my teenager with me, tracts in hand, shyly offering them to passers-by. She was so excited when finally someone took the first tract from her.

It was surreal as well. I remember the first time, many years ago now, I went out , she had been a tiny girl eating pizza as I left.

My Pastor at the time had unfortunately told me that I shouldn’t be going out, that my place is with my family. I respected this Pastor and so his words brought me considerable confusion as I knew like I knew that I’d been called to it. But my husband, bless him, also knew I was called to it. I was a full time, stay-at-home mum who went out for a few hours on a Friday night or morning in obedience to the Lord Jesus and he wanted me to go and released and blessed me in it.

So I did for 7 years.

Until the last 2 or so years when I knew God had wanted me to stop going so that we could focus on our children who were rapidly approaching teenager-dom. And so for the last couple of years my going out has been few and far between.

But tonight, and this time with my teenage daughter by my side, it was such a confirmation that all those years were not my neglecting my family but God using it to draw my daughter out too, as she’d seen her mum do.

And she was sooo excited to come with me.

I was typical “Mum” all night though. We were like conjoined twins, we literally moved as one. I never let her out of my sight. Even while I preached I directed her to stand right next to me so I could see her at all times.

Someone said once that our teenagers need not be entertained every Friday night in the name of Christianity, but rather to send them out in to the streets, tracts in hand where they can confront the devil head-on.

That’s where the life is.

Amen to that.

 

 


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Back to the Streets: Diary of a Girl Street-Preacher

Last night, after two years, I went back to the city to street preach.

Why did I stop? I don’t know, only that the Holy Ghost compulsion to go simply left me two years ago.

It’s not like I’ve been doing nothing in that two years, I’ve been preaching in a homeless mission on a regular basis, I have preached twice at a drug rehab centre and also a Baptist church. I’m almost now qualified as a Chaplain too, but the street preaching just stopped. I didn’t have any idea if I ever would go back to the street, but I knew that I certainly didn’t want to go back in the flesh.

The fact that I had been given an amazing PA system for free and I’d only used it once street-preaching sometimes haunted me. I had said a number of times to a fellow street-preacher that he is welcome to it, but he never came to collect it.

So why did I go back? I don’t know either. Only that over the last few months I’ve started to feel the desire to go again. Every now and then, little things, and then the fire inside would leap a little. And then I’d pray “Do you want me to go back Lord? I will go back but only if You want me to and You need to show me”.

And then I’d let it rest again.

And then my Mum said she’d take my kids last night for the night as it’s school holidays at the moment. Then I heard on the grapevine that the team was going out last night to the city. It was a perfect set of circumstances to go. And I wanted to go.

Then….I woke up yesterday morning with that familiar nervousness in the pit of my stomach, thinking why do I have to go? Why does it have to be me? All the other Christians are going out for dinner or sitting at home in their comfy PJ’s watching tv, why me? Sad huh.

If you want me to go, please confirm it Lord, because I don’t want to. I’m scared.

Then I see Pst Bill Randles Blog title “Wisdom Cries In the Streets”. I turn to Proverbs 1:20, 21:

“Wisdom cries aloud in the streets

She raises her voice in the open squares.

She cries out in the chief concourses

At the openings of the gates of the city…”

 

Hmmm. I remember that right now it is Sukkot and that Jesus cried out in the street at Sukkot:

“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying, “if anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37, 38

So I went. I took a darling daughter in Christ with me, for her first time, and we went. When we arrived Pst David prayed over us John 7:38.

I thought I wouldn’t preach, that I’d just hand out tracts and see how I went.

That’s what I thought.

When I got to the “gate of the city” at the steps of the great station I knew I was to preach. Seas and seas of people crossing the road toward me, coming down the steps from the trains behind me. Seas and seas of people whom perhaps had never heard the gospel, who may never hear it. So I preached. And man, it just felt like home. It felt so good, so right, so amazing.

Even when the two lesbians very deliberately came and stood right in front of me passionately kissing as I preached the gospel. Even when the father leant over on his small son’s back in mocking laughter at me. Even as people called out “My god is football!”

I was so glad to be there. Because that’s where Christ Jesus is.

I had forgotten that “all the while He was down (by His Spirit) among the poor struggling, drowning creatures in the angry deep, with His arms around them trying to drag them out, and looking up – oh! so longingly but all in vain – to those on the rock, crying to them with His voice all hoarse from calling, “Come to Me! Come, and help Me!” [1]

Blessings,

Belinda


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Mission Preaching & the Two Birds

March 10th

Preaching at the Homeless mission about six people came up for an altar call afterwards. As I was praying for them I felt that God wanted me to particularly minister to a young, tall, dark-haired woman.

I’d never seen her before. Her striking features reminded me of the gypsies I had seen years ago in Europe.

I simply said to her “God wants to say something to you”, but at that point I had no idea what.

She looked at me expectantly.

I said let’s pray.

So as I prayed for her I saw above her head a black bird and a white bird.

I told her this picture I saw and asked if she knew what it meant. No, she shook her head.

Neither did I. Let’s ask the Lord I said.

So we did and then a question for her:

“Have you ever been involved in the occult?”

“No,” she said, “not the occult. Just sometimes my friends read Tarot for me.”

I explained to her Deuteronomy 18 and that Tarot reading is one type of divination which God forbids. She had no idea.

“And horoscopes is the occult too?” she then asked.

Yes

“And psychic mediums?”

YES

“But that was years ago,” said she.

I told her a story my pastor told me years ago. The occult can be likened to a legal situation we find ourselves in. We spend an hour with a solicitor discussing the matter, but when we leave we decide against pursuing the legal situation after all and let it drop. However that time we have spent with the lawyer must be paid for despite the fact that we have decided to let the matter drop. And you can rest assured that he will make us pay.

When a doorway is opened into the forbidden spiritual realm it is not closed by time, disinterest or our will. It is only closed through our repentance and renunciation.

I then saw that the two birds represented the two kingdoms – one of light and one of darkness. She was trying to mix Christianity with occultism/paganism, but they can’t be mixed. Those two birds are two very different birds and it’s one or the other. A plain and clear choice must be made. And the consequences are eternal.

The devil will try to murder us outright as Christians (physically or spiritually) and if that doesn’t work, he will bring in mixture. Think of Balak engaging a diviner to try to curse Israel. Murder. When that didn’t work what happened? Mixture. Instead the Israelite men began to engage in sexual immorality with Moabite women, then sacrificed to their idols. (Numbers 24 & 25). Murder or mixture.

Well praise the Lord my friend eventually repented of her sin and renounced it all. At the end of the night she lifted her hands in worship and sung with all her might praises to the Lord Jesus Christ, whom is far above all.

“Far above all, far above all. God has exalted Him far above all. Crown Him as Lord at His feet humbly fall. Jesus, Christ Jesus, is far above all.” Christian hymn


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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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Missionary Quotations: My 11 Year Old Daughter


Usually I share here a quote by a famous missionary. But today I’m sharing something my 11-year old daughter Lucy has done:

Yesterday she asked me for my street-chalk. This is not so unusual in itself as she sometimes draws pictures in the driveway and pavement outside.

This time however was a bit different. When I went out there and saw what she’s written I just couldn’t stop smiling. I’ve taken photos of what she’s drawn and written on the pavement outside our house and at the bottom of our driveway for all passers by to

see:

image image image

No soft-peddling, political – correctness there! Out of the mouth of babes….needless to say, I am one proud mumma.

🙂

blessings,

belinda


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The Lord Looks After His Own

Friday street-preaching I encountered a hostility which I have never encountered before.  It actually left me a little flinders stdisturbed all weekend.

I was there with my little group, 5 of us, and my new PA, graciously provided by God. Because it was raining we set up under the shelter at the train station.

Before long I was preaching and praise the Lord, the anointing fell down on that place. People were listening, some were recording on their mobile phones. One of the ladies with me said it was so amazing that she felt to repent all over again.

But then out came the cops. One of them said that I can’t preach there, I need a permit , blah blah etc. I had done my homework and so very respectfully I told him that I am allowed to preach without a permit as it comes under the Freedom of Speech Act. He acquiesced but told me to turn the PA down, it was too loud (I’ve never had that problem before!).

So we kept going. We had many good conversations with people – a syncretistic muslim who simultaneously is reading the Bible and the Q’uran. He said he is going to come back again to continue our conversation. A confused Christian who thought that his occult gifts had been given him by God in order to help others. He left saying that he is going home to get rid of all his astrology etc books and tapes, renounce it all and repent. I pray that he did.

woman preacherThen preaching again. Then the anointing again. Then the cops again.

This time he was agitated.

“No, you cant keep doing this! You have to go now!”

I didn’t know what to do to be honest, as I am of the opinion to respect authority. However I knew he was on Satan’s errand and that I was perfectly within my rights to be there.

However, God stepped in on my behalf and the policeman’s partner, whom previously had said nothing, quietly said, “Just turn it down a bit more.”

So I did and I never saw them again.

But that’s when the real fun began. I went around handing out tracts to people and came to a bloke who was physically huge with a long, white beard. He looked like a biker. I tried to hand him a tract and immediately he started blaspheming Jesus. As I could see that the conversation was going nowhere I started to move away from him. That’s when he started on me.

“You crazy, deluded lady! You are crazy.  You think you know Jesus.  Oh you’ve met Him have you?” He said this while looking me in the eye and then openly laughed a mocking laugh at me.

I’ve been called many things before, actually things a lot worse than what he called me. I’ve had horrendous swear words, blasphemies thrown at me while preaching. I’ve had people laugh and shake their heads at me, but somehow this was worse than all of that. I think it’s because he looked at me in the eye while he said it and laughed. It was disturbing. I realised that this man was full of demons.  A mocking spirit was very obvious and I took myself away from him.

It entered my mind that he was so big he could probably kill me with one punch. Now this is not a typical thought for me on the street. I rarely ever feel unsure or threatened out there because the presence of the Lord is so real.

Anyhow I started preaching again and he stayed to heckle me. This was ok by me though. Strange as it sounds I enjoy a good heckle. I find the Holy Spirit anointing is so strong when I am being heckled. Also, it draws a crowd, and therefore more people hear the gospel.

He was screaming at me while I preached. You know – crazy lady, blah blah blah. He was trying to drown me out and he almost did because my PA had been turned down so much. He shut up for a little while until I preached about the coming day of wrath and to flee to Jesus from the wrath that is to come. Well, that set him right off again.

“You are preaching hate!! Hate preacher. I’ll get you for religious vilification.”  For a while all I could hear was the word “hate”.

I realised he was waving around a Q’uran. Aha – not a biker dude, an Aussie muslim convert.

Well he kept going and I kept going. There was a crowd. It was quite fun.

Every now and then though a thought would pop in my mind that he may come over and break my arm with one flick of his wrist. He really hated me, that much I knew.

To my left then I noticed were two men standing there. They looked like workmen because they were wearing orange high-vis vests. They were standing in the rain, although they could have easily fit under the cover. They stood together and quietly talked whilst intensely watching the big man screaming at me.

They never once looked at me, nor even in my direction. They kept their eyes firmly planted on him, and I immediately knew that they were there to protect me. I just knew that my Father had sent them to watch over me and that if screaming man took one step towards me they would intervene.

I wonder if they were angels? I have no idea if they were or not, but I knew like I knew that God had sent them there.

After I finished preaching and started packing up to leave the big man was still screaming at me. He was still saying that he was going to get me for religious vilification.

The two workmen were still standing watching him.  When he finally shut up and started losing interest I looked back and they were gone.

cropped-jesus.jpgAnyway then we went to McDonalds for lunch and praised God for an awesome time.

One thing I know for sure : that when we obey the Lord He will provide for us and He will watch over us. I left there with the sense that Jesus is happy with us.

God bless you my dear brothers and sisters,

Belinda