By Evangelist Linda J Clifford-Hayes – 9/7/18
What a wonderful day in Father’s courts on Sunday. My Father dedicated his whole home to church and the community – front room! From the age of 11, I was first in and always the last ‘man’ standing. From a child I have always loved where his honour dwells and when they said let us go into the house of the Lord. I pray it will be that way until he comes.
I had wanted to write this up earlier, but the events of weekend and life overtook me – I have a very sick relative in the QMC ; I had a serious car mishap , I am recovering from a health situation myself (wisdom teeth…) – I now have no wheels ..!
The Lord is teaching me that in every situation to depend on him. All our possessions and things we hold dear are just for a moment, and can be stripped away. He is showing me the true Body of Christ ie the hands that do and come to our aid in times of need and most important : in the midst of life, we are indeed in death.
As I was walking the distance from home to church (and in the sweltering heat). I was listening for His voice. I heard him say ‘Comfort ye, comfort ye my people’. Isaiah 40:1. I almost discarded the whisper for the day, when the unction got the better of me.
Father is speaking all the time and bringing his word. We can be so busy that we throw the baby out with the bath water – as they say. In this season, I am asking him to quiet my spirit, so I can hear him better or best. Keep the baby!! Please!! ( As I write, I believe this is a word for somebody.. )
His word is like honey in the rock.
And so I write the word on my heart today; to record in time and on time, as instructed and by way of seeking to bring comfort to his people.
Verse 3 of Isaiah 40 is actually my signature scripture ‘the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord and make his paths straight in the highway for our God’. This was the word the Lord brought me in my first days of being called out (see my book ‘A blessing Happening in Our Time’). Sometimes that voice in the wilderness is soft, sometimes stern, ardent and imploring, but it is a voice that must be without excuse.
The Spirit’s desire is to save and to bring many sons to glory. We are his battle axe and weapons of war – spiritually speaking.
I am encouraged, as despite my own personal failures, the Lord is speaking. Even though I am the messenger, I am not above this word. It speaks to me, both as a stick and as a comforter.
I want to say regardless of your situation ‘You can depend on Him’. He sends help from his sanctuary. I have seen his hand move this very week and over all my years. He has been an ever present help, in my times of need.
The word has gone out, on an open playing field and in an open country. It is the ‘whosoever will’ who will hear, or will come.
The message from our Pastor on Sunday was beautiful (see podcast online for the full message 8/7/18) – my own young daughter says she was blessed.
I believe the message confirms that the Spirit is one Spirit and confirms (i) the comfort that the Lord wants to bring to his people in this season and by way of extension (ii) how to be a vessel that can bring care and comfort to others, in this dark hour.
For those who were not present, Pastor shared his heart and the reason behind the current church curriculum and program – ‘At the Movies’. In context, (and to explain the series), He shared the parable of the 99 sheep and the 1 which was lost. He stated that Father is seeking that lost one, that individual who may feel that they are not good enough, who has been rejected, passed over, discriminated against. Father wants to make something out of our perceived nothing (my emphasis) and turn things around to bring out that excellent gifting in us and the thing we were created for, to pass.
I listened carefully for that particular word that would open the way in my own desert. It came …..So mightily grew the Word of God and it prevails…!Paul plants, Apollos waters and God gives the increase. This is the revelation I received :
Father is the Lord of the open country – he is at the centre of our deserts, keeping back threats, perils and storms. If you have wandered away or feel you are falling short, nay, become ensnared …you can call out. You don’t need to retrace your steps to get back home, you don’t need to walk back home alone. As, Pastor shared, He is coming after You..!!!
Father not only brings the lost sheep back, He lifts the burden of the journey and carrying you back to safety across his own shoulders. Then he ends your return with a celebratory party, letting all know, you’ve come home. What a Father!!
As Jesus is excited about ‘the one’ so we must be excited about ‘the one’. As Jesus is touched about that hurt or that disappointment, so we must be touched and hurt about ‘that one’s’ hurt, or disappointment.
What I see as a minister, chaplain, leader, manager, older sister, little sister, mother, daughter, family member ….. is that too often we use our own weights and balances to judge others and keep them out, or at a distance ; we feign love and real care for their situation. I’m afraid we haven’t even begun to be true ministers of reconciliation. Yes, we have been called with a high and holy calling, but it is not about labels, positions or roles, but heart. This is what breaks yokes at the altar. Our stuff sometimes gets in the way.
The Apostle Paul said it best when he said in Philippians 3:3-7
For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
We need to lay somethings down to get to the crux … the heart , of the matter.
We have become proud of our head knowledge and intellect and dare I say, so called ‘ministries’ but we say and don’t do. We love to be called, to perform – to be seen of men. But many called, few are chosen. We broaden the tails of our phylacteries… rush to the altar, the rostrum, even to the funerals (professional mourners with no tears), to say and lament, to strut and dictate. But we are in effect empty cymbals, clanging bells – nothing of eternal value to give; We don’t really feel, or see the need of others. We bristle at a strong uncomfortable word. We want our ears tickled and our backs stroked. We are quick to think the word is about that brother or sister, but not about us. The word floats like oil, in the House, but goes over our heads – doesn’t even pierce or touch us. We don’t cry or even blush. We have become ‘happy clappy’, but forgotten how to seek, really feel. We don’t know how to push or to stand in the gap.
But there is hope….for us all.
Father wants us to do as he does. He want us to look out for, and go after, that prodigal. To comfort each other, open up a way, an avenue for return or reconciliation. He wants us to make room in the desert of life for that one. He wants us to declare the rough places smooth and crooked places straight. With the staff in our hand (and his words on our lips) he want us to break those yokes and to do this with Love.
And so a new week begins where we can be comforters and to continue to do of his good pleasure. May I say ‘Thank you’ to all those who didn’t hesitate, but have come up to the plate and met my own personal need this very week. The smile, the hugs, the car, the keys, the prayer, the transport, the meal – the laughter.
After having my mouth frozen, teeth drilled, looking lob sided and sounding like Quasimodo …… after my patience was sorely tried (I am human …) and a morning of dealing with useless RAC & car recovery agents and a temporary washing line that didn’t hold all my freshly washed clothes, I hear my spirit declare
‘ surely there must be an end and the expectation of the righteous shall not be cut off’. It’s his Word..!!! I am again strangely comforted.
Expecting greater things from the Body, in the House and in this hour.
Evangelist Linda J Clifford-Hayes
9th July 2018