By Linda J
Praise the Lord Jesus Christ,
I am so sorry I couldn’t have been with you tonight. I had to travel out of Derby on an appointment late evening and I have a early start with traveling to Grantham tomorrow at the start of the weekend of serving in the Mission 24 missions and Connect, which gathers evangelists from across the country. Father knows, I would love to spend more time with you, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
You know I work full time, so it is on top of that I have to fit in personal things, like clean the fridge, put the garbage out and spending precious time with our Father. I am not complaining, but explaining the context of my life just now. I would have loved to have been with you.
Like Paul, I am on a course… and I must run my race and I want to run it well.
Father woke me this morning . He knows what is on my mind. He said ‘Have I not said … signs and wonders will follow those that believe?’ He is encouraging me (like Jonathan Conrathe my current leader does) to ‘stay with it’ until the power for change comes.
I have seen the signs and wonders in many dreams and visions and I believe we are on a precipe to see the mighty works of God in our time, if we just continue to hold on and believe.
I wanted to share that I attended an event on Tuesday night called the Secret Place and was blessed by a testimony from an international minister and how he broke the spirit of fear for him and his children against attacks from drug lords. They had already taken the wife and mother. She was dead, because of addiction. He was just about to give into their demands , but said “enough is enough” – calling on our Father and praying in the Holy Ghost and making a stand.
I have been part of a closed pastor’s group in New York since 2010 and have been blessed by Pastor Carter Conlon, on many occasions. Pastor Conlon runs the Times Square church, which I hope to attend in person one day. I woke up early yesterday as he had sent a message. The message was in the context of perilous times being here and about endurance. I listened attentively, as I very much needed that word this week, on so many levels (and in particular) , as I prepare for international travel and all that can go with that..
Pastor Conlon taught from Matthew 24. In essence : What shall give us the ability to endure? What does endurance mean anyway?
Endurance means staying behind or going … because it is necessary for someone’s sake. That is, (in the Christian context) someone else’s sake (my emphasis). Endurance is having the patience to cope with people who live recklessly, who reject or rage against you. It is staying with it, with them … against all odds.
As I listened to the message, the Holy Spirit brought back our church and an incident that occurred on Sunday morning. A dishevelled looking man had come in right before the start of the first service. I went to say hello. He said he was hungry and cold and hadn’t eaten. He was an adult , but looked like a child. I said I would try and get him something. I went and begged for a roll from the relish team in the canteen (they were so gracious)and also made him a cup of tea. I sneaked it past onlookers and some of the leaders…I thought I would get told off. The man took the tea and the cob. I would have brought bacon butty too, but it wasn’t ready. I thought I had done what Father would have wanted. I left him to eat, but went back just before the service started to see how he was. I asked “are you alright now?” The man cussed me down… !! He said ‘if that is all your God can provide. He can stick it..! He had already eaten the cob and still drinking from the cup.
I wasn’t offended (my how I have changed…) . I was sad. I thought to myself, I had gone all that way for him, but he is ungrateful. The man then went onto denigrate Father and said he doesn’t believe in my God. I wasn’t going to take him on, so I smiled and said “I’m sorry you feel like that” . I moved on, seeking to guard my heart and prepare my worship. The bible tells me anyway wisdom is to high for a fool.
As I walked away, I remembered the scripture Father had taught me long ago ‘all day long, I stretched out my hand to a disobedient and gainsaying people‘ (Romans 10:21).
Pastor Conlon’s message on endurance brought this incident and many others back to me. This is not the first time I have witnessed or been subjected to this scenario and I doubt it will be the last. It’s been a period of challenge on many sides.
Essentially, he taught that you can’t keep on doing good in situations like this, unless your inner man has been changed. You can’t do it yourself. You will be destroyed. Flesh will war against the spirit all the time. Flesh will always rise up to attack the child of and the proper responses which are rooted in the spirit and of God.
We will suffer rejection, scorn and scoffing from those we love dear and have given time to. But we must keep giving the cup … For his sake we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. The disciples cut and ran, when the pressure was on and the attacks were coming against Jesus. Our nearest and dearest, people (and even our brethren) will sometimes hurt and despise us, but we stand and endure.
As he is, so are we, in this world. I have said before the prophet’s life is a metaphor.
Father has shown me that we are not alone in persecution, there are a number of his servants imprisoned, silenced, buffeted, neglected by the sleight of men, overwhelmed, rejected, wounded , despairing in diverse places. He wants us to know he has seen, but to continue to endure hardship as good soldiers. He will bring us out in the end.
We live in days of lawlessness, where the spirit of deception, and rejection is on the rampage, when we see that standards of righteousness and Truth trampled down to the ground. But stand.
The Bible warns us, that when we think it is peace and safety, sudden attacks or destruction comes upon us. We are to expect these things but also victory.
Perilous times are here. We see people maiming /killing themselves, being killed by the sword and by the mouth and where we are being sold down the river and for a morsel of bread – but endure we must.
I thought about the real reason for this piece – letting go of my comfort zone, preparing again to go. As evangelists, we will traverse towns and cities, countries and nations, when perhaps we could have stayed in our warm cozy beds. But we go. We take the ministry of Jesus alongside the attacks, because we are those that endure (and must) for the gospel sake. We do it for the love of God and the spirit of Christ working in us. We cant do it ourselves, but Christ in us is the hope of glory.
In our walk of endurance , we have to not only love God and his word, but people and nations. Pastor shared that even stalwart wanting to be sincere Christians, struggle with loving all people.
There are/will be difficult people, challenging situations and nations. Some don’t want to know Him or You…But endure we must.
Don’t let offense rob you of your joy peace, hope and love or your power to do. Don’t let your love wax cold. Go. Endure. Sin abounds, but the spirit of grace, much more abounds. Smile in the face of adversity
There is much more to say including the need to take a spiritual selfie* from time to time ie to see where we stand on these issues, but lets leave that one for another day…!
I want to close with a prayer.
Father, your word says that many are the afflictions of the righteous, but you deliver us from them all. Deliver us from the snare of the fowler and the noisome pestilence. Deliver us from spiritual abuse and oppression. Give us a heart like yours – a heart of love and staying power – spiritual endurance with, and for others.
Father, help us to understand that the race is not for the swift nor the strong, but those that endure to the end. Help us not to be weary in well doing, but to keep going against the odds. Give us courage to finish the race – finishing well.
Lord your word said that He that endures to the end, the same shall be saved. We are being saved. For this we give you thanks and praise.
Increase in us the gift of faith, gift of patience and the gift of love for you, and others.
Let those that know us/need you, see you working in us and through us, which is their access and hope of glory.
Your daughter Linda J
*I will write another word on the spiritual selfie , when I get time..😳❤️