Stories of a good God

Circis Avondale – joy to behold ©Beth Kennedy 2020

I returned from a daily walk last week and noted how beautiful my blossom trees looked. I stopped to take some photos:

These trees make my heart sing. It is the simple things that bring me great delight. Yes… that is a cabbage in my front garden – beauty, form and function.

I have a larger Circis Avondale at the other end of the row, but I did not have a great photo of that one to show you.

Circis Avondale – pollen laden bees in Melbourne ©Beth Kennedy 2020

As I photographed the trees I saw many bees heavy laden with pollen.

This brought a greater sense of delight as I recognised God’s hand in the moment.

Earlier the same day a friend had sent me a word given by Mary Forsythe (Kingdom Living Ministries) for Melbourne.

Listen to the word here: Word for Melbourne

Two days before, the state government advised Melbourne residents that we were staying in strict level 4 lockdown for a further 2 weeks.

Mary heard about this, and she prayed.

As she prayed the name of our city stood out to her as Mel….bourne.

‘Mel’ means honey…

She felt God say that Mel (honey) will be born in this season. God is digging deep wells for greater capacity in the people of Melbourne. Fresh honey will come from the additional time of lockdown BUT with the extra two weeks there will also be an added pressure. Hence, it was essential we guard our hearts and minds.

For those that do not know, ‘honey’ speaks of God’s glory, His abundance, His wealth, His anointing, His favour. Honey has a natural sweetness, and it is a natural form of energy. Honey also has healing qualities: it is anti-microbal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Raw honey fights infection and boosts immunity. Honey has incredible wound healing properties…

The Bible describes the Promised Land as a ‘…land flowing with milk and honey‘… (see Exodus 3:8 is just the first of many references that can be found). The Promised land is promises fulfilled – a place to thrive and a place of abundant provision.

Of interest, Melbourne was born out of another golden substance – gold.

And so, with the word listened to that morning, and the bees in my garden, heavy laden with pollen to carry to the hive… I realised:

Here is an opportunity to gather the pollen for the honey.

Here is an opportunity to choose God over circumstance… not grumble and mummer… and instead say ‘BUT GOD!’

We will spread whatever we carry, just as bees cross pollinate plants as they go.

It is up to us, what we pollinate with…

Fear, harsh words, judgement, criticism…

Or will we cross pollinate with Kingdom?

Please choose God’s words of life, encouragement, kindness, forgiveness…

We will harvest what we gather… we will spread what we carry…

So let us gather Kingdom mind sets and prepare for the honey to flow.

Let’s see the gold, the goodness, and the glory in one another – call it out!

Let’s help one another grow in our capacity to carry heaven everywhere we go, so we cross pollinate, just by being who we are… in the same way bees cross pollinate by doing what bees are designed to do

And as we do, as we go, and as we beeee…. we will release His goodness, His glory, His honey because…

God is Good!

 

What honey are you carrying?

Is there some mindsets, thoughts, behaviours and attitudes that are inhibiting you from carrying good pollen as you go?

Can you see God’s goodness, regardless of our circumstances right now?

Please tell us about it below.

Sometimes the bay where I walk is unusually still; barely a ripple shifts the surface tension of the waters. At other times, the wildness of the weather comes straight from an Emily Brontë novel and the wind whips, forming waves that surge upon the sand.

Regardless of weather, these days God is often speaking as I walk. It could be the lack of quietness in our home because of a full house in lockdown. It maybe I just haven’t stopped, made room. It may just be where He speaks now…

Who am I to question?

We have a full, noisy house…

My husband and daughter work in my home office. My husband at my desk; my daughter at another desk. My son sits in his bedroom, where he has attended most of his first year of high school.

Then there are zoom ballet lessons 6 days a week (day and night at various times). Ballet music fills our living area, which is open plan to our kitchen and dining area. This means that I often duck and weave the camera as I make yet another cup of tea…

My daughter has a habit of settling herself where her mood suits – her desk in my office, her bedroom, chasing the sun outside, at the dining table (which is my favourite place to work).

It is a full, noisy house…

It’s not that I mind noise – sometimes. However, having nowhere to retreat that is free of invasion by good meaning family members is challenging, especially when you feel called into a quiet time with God.

Sometimes I like to have a quiet sit with God; other times, it’s a wild worship in the living area. I may journal, prophetically play music, shout, sing, complete prophetic acts… what I sense Him asking of me, I do, as best I can.

I have not had the luxury of uninterrupted alone time in our house since mid-March 2020.

Playing musical rooms with my laptop, with no place to settle… God still calls…

He’s not interested in my excuses, my reasons, my habits, he sees them all anyway.

I moved a small table from my office into my bedroom – not ideal, but it was a little desk where I could zoom, or write, or do admin, etc. The afternoon sunlight streams into the room and brings me quiet joy. Having a zoom call in my bedroom is not ideal, but we make the most of it.

25 weeks of zoomed ballet classes later, I still sit and write in my bedroom… it’s our ‘new normal’.

I can hear the music of my son’s ballet class. The ballet mistress makes corrections, sometimes with kindness, and at other times…

I pray for the person who is the focus of a harsh word as I walk through to my kitchen for a cup of tea.

As a prophetic ‘feeler’, the people, the noise, the news reports, the aggression, the fear, the frustration, the sadness, the intensity of emotions can overwhelm. Many of you feel the same way.

I can walk into a shop, and feel the emotion. I often know the challenges on a person. The atmosphere in a store can slap and if someone is hurting, if someone has been dabbling in the occult, I often sense it.

The atmosphere here in Melbourne Australia has been intense. I’m sure it has been intense in many places around the world, yet, I am still called to Him. I have no excuse.

Being in Him with intentionality is the most refreshing place to be…

Each day I walk, and each day He speaks. Regardless of whether I’m listening, He speaks. He loves me enough to always be speaking, to always be present, it’s just whether I’m present to Him. Am I centring myself in His heart beat for myself, my family, my friends, for the nation…

He speaks, and He shows me that:

He is my refuge.

He is my strength.

He is my God in whom I can trust…

If I will just stop and press in, if I will stop doing… if I will…

 

Be still and know that He is God… (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

The stillness in the storm: x marks the spot
©Beth Kennedy 2020

 

‘X’ marks the spot.

God needs to be the centre of our frame, the centre of our image.

He calls us to walk on water…

There may well be a storm brewing around us, but yet He calls…

There is a place of stillness in the storm and it’s in Him, at His centre…

Will I answer the call?

Will you answer the call?

Will we answer the call together?

If we do, I believe that the earth will see that He is the shelter and as His hand delivers us, they will also see that…

God is Good!

Last week while out walking with my husband, I was struck by how as a couple we walk in sync with one another, and when one or the other of us is slightly out of sync, we will adjust our walk to the one beside us. It makes the walk one of ease and comfort.

We were walking, holding hands, and we were slightly out of sync, which made our holding hands awkward, so I did a little hop, skip and jump, to come into sync with my husband’s stride, and our walk returned to one of ease.

As I did my little ‘dance’ and I felt a stirring from Jesus, my husband. He highlighted this little manoeuvre for me, and as He did, I glanced at my phone – it was 11:11… again.

11:11 means a few things to me.

A few years ago, when God was talking to me about the church needing to wake up, it was ‘Wakey Wakey time’ (thank you Beni Johnson circa 2009/10ish), which was a direct reference to Lazarus waking up (see John 11:11). For others, 11:11 may mean something else. But for me, in this moment, it meant the ‘walk of faith’ regarding Hebrews 11:11:

And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.

(Hebrews 11:11 NIV)

‘The walk of faith,’ I thought.

I looked at our legs walking in unison, my left leg striding out with his right leg, hands held swinging in time, my right leg then striding out with his left – they looked like the walk of 11:11.

Can you see it?

leg leg: leg leg

11:11

I know, it’s how my brain works, because you see, I see God talking to me. He talks to me through what I see, through patterns, numbers, strange happenings (remember Moses’ burning bush in my last post?). It’s not just what I hear or know or sense, I also see, and there are many ways to see…

It’s 4am in the morning here in Australia as I write. He asked me to get up and ask the following question. I suppose it is an important question to Him:

‘Who are you walking with?’

Andrew, my husband, was symbolic of Jesus. I need to be in an easy sync with Him – with Jesus by my side. I must adjust my stride to be by His side, at ease in my walk with Him…

BUT

I also need to be in an easy sync with my actual husband – my life running partner, I need to adjust my step to be with him, and sometimes he needs to adjust his step for me. He often complains that I run ahead too fast… 🙂

BUT

we all need community and singles (or married’s with unbelieving spouses) this then also covers you, as it does married couples (our spouse cannot be everything we need). We all need community. So I ask:

Who are you running with?

The answer is important, especially now, in this ‘Kairos’ time, in this time of challenge.

We are in a rapidly changing world, life (including church) is being shaken to its core, and who we associate with, who we hang out with, what we read, fill our minds with, who we allow to influence our growth forms us and so I ask again:

Who are you running with?

Whoever they are, I suggest at least three things are essential:

1. they will call out the gold in you, helping you brush away the dirt to uncover your essence, your true self. They will celebrate you and let you shine. They certainly will not try to make you a cardboard cutout of themselves. But, please also let them shine;

2. they are people you can lean in and run with, learn from, trust. They need to be encouraging you ‘to come a little higher.’ And, you may be that person for them too, for iron sharpens iron. But I suggest that at least a one or two have done a few more miles in an area where you need to grow. You may also encourage and help them grow too, but your community needs to include a few people who will stretch you, but always in kindness;

3. they are people you can sew into. I believe that we all need to be running with others that we encourage and call higher too. We all need to ‘pay it forward!’ This is how the Body grows, each encouraging the other to become fully alive to Him, Jesus Christ.

So, it’s time to find your tribe. It’s time for me to find my tribe. It’s time for us to find our tribe…

I think this is essential because it’s time for the meat. No more milk fed adults. Milk fed adults are not healthy adults. Kingdom rule requires Kingdom adults.

So, it’s time to grow up!

God wants mature kids because…

God is Good!

I’d love to know what you are doing to find this sort of community, a community that inspires you to grow.

Have you found people who honour you, who see you, yet who call you higher?

Or, are you facilitating groups online or locally to help others grow into who they truly are? If so, let us know what that looks like – it won’t always look the same, but it would be interesting to hear other people’s journey.

As A and I went for our walk yesterday we saw these boots left abandoned, sitting on the grass:

Boots on bayside walk © Beth Kennedy 2020

I looked at them as we walked past, laughing that God was showing me something, just not knowing what. Having walked past the spot, I felt a gentle nudge to go back and take a photo…

I asked the Father what He was trying to tell me about them. I felt He said that it was time for us to change our shoes, to change our walk. I feel He is saying that to the Bride of Christ – He is saying to us all that we have had our work boots on for so long, and now it’s time to take them off and stop working so hard for Him.

We have been doing and doing and doing… without knowing who we are first…

These abandoned boots say it’s time to change our walk, and hence, take our work boot off and get ready for a change of shoes. The boots had done well in the past, but now they needed exchanging for an upgrade, for a fresh way to walk.

What I found particularly interesting was the direction they were facing:

As we walk through these strange times, I hear Him say: ‘Be wise where you set your gaze.’
Boots facing out to sea © Beth Kennedy 2020

If someone was standing in these boots, they would look out to sea – one of my favourite places to look. Noting the direction I felt God whisper again:

It’s important what direction we face in these times. It really matters what we are fixing our gaze upon in this season of transition.

It was as if the wearer had seen the beauty of the view, and had discarded the boots for a walk of simplicity and purity, a bare-footed walk with a focus on God’s goodness, God’s beauty. It resonates of Moses stopping for the burning bush, removing his shoes in the desert, for he was standing on Holy Ground:

‘Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground’ Exodus 3:5 (NIV)

It is at this point God gives Moses his commissioning, but first Moses had to stop, take off his work boots, and listen!

So we take off our work boots (our works) and in simplicity (bare-footed) we go to Him, sit, wait, linger and hear His heartbeat for ourselves, and as we hear the heartbeat for ourselves, we will also hear His heartbeat for those around us. As we do both: hear Him for us; hear Him for them, He will equip us afresh with new shoes, and these shoes will look quite different to the old.

I don’t know what my new shoes will look like.

I don’t know what your new shoes will look like.

But for now we need not know, we need simply to stop and take off our shoes.

Come to me and be still.

Rest a while and know that I am good.

Breathe and allow me to take you through the storm and on the other side of all this, then, having rested, you will be ready to run the race set before you.

Yes, we are in ‘unprecedented’ times. Yes, we are in a ‘reset’ (even the nonChristian world is using this phrase). Yes, it is challenging, and confusing, and different… but God!

If we can all collectively stop, take off our work boots, ‘be still and know (experientially) that [He is] God’ (Ps 46:10), breathe, rest and listen… and then go with Him rather than for Him, then I believe that the world will see that…

God is Good!

Tell me:

How has God been talking to you in these last few days?

Have you seen similar ‘burning bushes’ or ‘signs’?

Our family has been in a time of rapid transition.

It’s been a ride.

One aspect of our recent journey has been to start an online zoom group. We were always planning to start an online group, and covid-19 made us very aware of why this start up was on God’s heart.

Our zoom group comprises people we know and trust. These people will try things out online with us, give us feedback, cut us some slack, while we hopefully sow something of value into them. It’s still nerve-racking because, well, God has to show up!

As with all groups we have run, the first topic we covered was: ‘who are we anyway?’

‘A simple question to answer,’ you may say, but it is surprising just how many (read everyone) struggle with this topic when you scratch the surface. Our religious and societal beliefs are so entrenched – ‘we must perform to be loved’.

I believe that we all struggle with this idea – that we don’t earn our right at the table with God! God approves of us, having done nothing!

Mark 1:11 makes it clear:

‘And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”’ (Mark 1:11 NIV)

Check out this link to Mark 1:11. The different translations, of the same verse say the same thing. In essence:

‘You are my son, I love you, and I am well pleased with you.’

I find this scripture fascinating. It is at the point of Jesus being baptised by John, before Jesus starts his ministry years. Jesus has done nothing to earn his father’s love. It is from this place of identity Jesus enters the desert, fasts, is tempted by the devil and then steps out into his ministry. He has held firm to who he is and whose he is.

The Father loves and approves of Jesus- before Jesus does anything.

Jesus would have studied etc prior to this point in time, but… he had presumably done nothing. He had not stepped into his ministry works.

Every group we have run, we cover the same idea – we are loved, approved and accepted, without works, having done nothing. In fact, we don’t have to do anything to remain in this place; however, when we really catch this concept in its essence, the irony is we can’t help but do something in response.

‘111, My beloved daughter; My beloved son.’

What do you hear Him speak over you today?

Will you just sit and let Him whisper sweet nothings?

Will you let Him sing over you, as you rest in the nook of His arms?

Will you ‘…wait a little longer’ with Him?

He wants us whole, and fully comprehending that we are His beloved daughter or son, in whom He is well pleased. It is from this place of identity that we are to step out and go, and as we do we will shine with His goodness, with His light, with His love because…

God is Good!

Please, sit, breathe and listen. See what He says to you through this song:

‘A Little Longer’ by Jenn Johnson
I particularly like the version on the album ‘We Believe’ but I couldn’t find an authorised website link to that version. The ‘We Believe’ album version is a little quieter, and I personally find it more poignant.

 

A couple of nights ago this was the moon over Melbourne. Some called it a ‘corona moon’ (yes this is a technical term) , but when I researched it via all knowing google 😊 I found that correct name of the phenomenon was in fact a ‘halo’ 😇 moon. The difference being the amount of ice in the atmosphere to create the phenomenon that you see in this photo.

I believe that this halo moon no coincidence.

I believe that God talks to us today, in a variety of ways. He not only talks to us, but He is a kind and loving God; He is not an angry God.

I believe that this moon is one of the ways God is showing us Melbournites that He sees us, He has us covered. This too shall pass.

I encourage my Christian friends to speak life over Melbourne because as you all know life and death are in the power of the tongue.

I also believe that we rest under the shadow of His wings here in Melbourne – I saw this as people started posting silly things online about Melbourne being shadowlands and a friend said to me: ‘YES! We rest under the shadow of His wings!’

I agree, under His wings is where we find refuge.

So, as we enter into even stricter lockdowns this week in Melbourne Australia please speak life to one another, online and in person … and be kind – regardless of whether “they” deserve kindness.

I suggest an act of kindness every day for the rest of August – studies show that such acts actually causes life to increase for the doer, and of course it is lovely for the recipient.

If you are not in Melbourne speak life over your region, your neighbourhood, your schools, your city, your country.

It is with kindness that we will manage; it is with kindness that we will cope, and even thrive; and it is with kindness that we will rebuild because…

God is Good!

This is crazy!

Several people have asked for the details of the beautician I gifted money to.

I can provide details to those that want it.

I have reached out to a coffee shop too, but they are yet to respond.

The beautician is overwhelmed.

I looked at her FB page.

She has been caring for international students and the elderly in her area. She has been encouraging others to buy groceries and cook meals etc to help them right through this covid19 time. She has been offering to buy a week’s worth of groceries, to cook a meal, to give what she can, and she has said to people “no shame” just direct message her.

Her tag is “never give up because great things take time.”

This woman who I “randomly” chose to give money to, in order to support her business, so she in turn can give away vouchers (WIN/WIN/WIN) is giving of herself already.

That is so God!

Well, it’s her time to be blessed.

God sees her!

If you want her banking details to bless her socks off…to give so she is supported and so she in turn can give, please DM me and I’ll provide them.

Thank you to those who have already re-posted on Facebook. Thank you also to those who have committed to this project. There are readers on this blog that have also committed – thank you! See comments below and please support their business if you’re local.

And to those who have acted without commenting, thank you 🌷

You’re amazing 😊

God IS Good!

(and He makes me laugh!)

Yesterday I read that areas of our community in Melbourne were being put into more strict lockdown. There was a profile of a woman who ran a beauty business in one affected suburb. I sat feeling helpless, but then I thought, why not give some money to her business? I then thought maybe I could buy a voucher for her to give away to someone in her neighbourhood when she reopened. It would be a win/win/win – I sow into healing the area, she receives financial support for her business, she will then bless someone I don’t know and that person will receive some money off a treatment as an act of random kindness (ARK).

WIN/WIN/WIN

I usually would not post these sorts of things, truly believing Matthew 6:3-5:

“But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

However, as I suggested the same to a friend, I had the thought:

“what if we all reached out and just gave a little: $10, $20, $50… what we could manage, whatever God laid on our hearts, to a business in lockdown in our city, in our nation, and then encouraged that business to bless someone with that gift in the form of a voucher and give that to someone they felt needed the help?”

I then thought:

“what if I posted the idea and a few people did the same… we would start an ARK movement (acts of random kindness movement).”

I figured I would have to get over my shyness about this – which looks like it contradicts the above scripture, but if I can encourage just one person to do the same, then I figure we are planting God’s goodness, kindness, His character into the areas affected the worst by this insidious virus, and that such ARK actions will change the atmosphere

No-one need know what our beliefs are, they just know that we see them, that we love them, and that we care. I believe that the act has to have no strings attached.

So I encourage you, google some businesses, and give in the worst affected areas.

Yes, you are relying on them paying the voucher forward. But, even if they don’t, it doesn’t matter because as we give we are sowing God’s goodness. It will not only be a blessing in the natural but warfare in the spiritual realm. It WILL make a difference because we are sowing in faith and because…

God is Good!

Please share below if you action this idea – it will encourage me if you have and I won’t feel so exposed in writing this post 🙂

PS: I must acknowledge Ruthie Young and her post I Marvel at the Wisdom of Our God  for the acronym ARK: “Acts of Random Kindness.” I had heard of this acronym before, but her post reminded me of it, and I feel it is so apt in this time when we all need our ARK to ride the storms we are in on a global scale. Thank you Ruthie for your beautiful kindness and gentleness. 

So often in our lives, futures imagined, dreams envisioned, must be laid down. It is in these moments we have a choice: do we allow God to direct our steps, even though we are all at sea, disappointed, hurt; or, do we try to control everything, and keep directing our lives where we think we should go, regardless.

A while back, I felt a stirring in my heart.  We had just changed churches, and we were still trying to find our feet.  Our old church had been big, loud, there was a weekly mosh pit I had danced and worshipped in, and people were hungry for things of the Spirit. The church we had landed in was small, intimate, and sedate, at least sedate compared to what we had been used to, but regardless, we felt it was the right fit, and we believed the church was on the cusp of revival.

I was keen to serve somewhere.  I felt an urge to start a regular prayer group, and a recently made friend and I started fortnight meetings to pray for our church, the community and beyond; but, I was still restless.

Something was stirring.

Back in the late 1990s I often travelled to Far North Western Australia, where I provided legal representation to people who were illegally entering Australia by boat. It is common to refer to these people as “boat people,” or illegal migrants (because of their status of having no visas of entry). They predominantly came from Iraq. Some came from Algeria. A few were from China. That was the mix of countries when I was working. After I finished at that law firm the Afghans came – they were tough cases.

The stories moved me, the politics of human rights law saddened me, and the other lawyers laughed at me, saying: “you wear your heart on your sleeve” (a weakness in their mind). To this I would respond, “if I was in their position I would rather someone like me representing me, then someone like you.”

I didn’t stay in refugee work for long, and I left my position as junior lawyer to start a business of my own as a corporate consultant, while providing immigration legal advice to people on the side, just to keep my toe in. I referred any refugee work – it was too emotional, and too political. That was until 10 years ago.

When my youngest was about three, I received a call from a Melbourne businessman who wanted migration advice for a Christian Egyptian family he had met while overseas. The father was an Anglican Minister. The businessman wanted to help them. It was to be a straightforward case, but once involved I realised there were very serious persecution risks at play for the family involved. Each time I went to refer the case on, each time I tried to shake myself loose, I would feel God on it – He wanted me to see it through. While the case would have qualified as a refugee case (they were being persecuted for their faith) we did not run the case as a refugee case. Instead, we needed to run the case differently (the refugee landscape had changed and was getting increasingly difficult to negotiate). It took years, but we got the family into Australia under a different visa category. This case confirmed that I didn’t want to do refugee work ever again! The responsibility, the sorrow and the desperation, the trauma…

The Egyptian family that came established the first Arabic Anglican Church in Australia. Other Arabic churches exist, but not of this denomination. And, as I write, they now lead two such churches in Victoria (one in Melbourne, the other in Geelong). They head up a vibrant, growing Christian community. All led by the beautiful family who God would not let me shake loose – people I now call friends. The family reach the Arabic world in Melbourne, and people come to Christ.

Anyway…

We had just changed churches. All my dreams, plans, hopes and vision had fallen away. I was a ballet mum in a world of ballet I never saw coming (yes God has a sense of humour) and I was in a small quiet church, albeit, earmarked for revival. I wanted to serve God, but I did not see any opportunity to do so in my passion and gifting, and so I prayed a prayer that I do not recommend, unless you are ready to just obey!

I prayed: “God, I can’t see where or how I can serve you here. I want to honour leadership. There is no favour to teach what I know, or to release what I carry, but I want to serve you, what do you want me to do, I’ll do anything you ask me to do, I just want to serve you.”

I prayed the prayer, and I thought I knew how God would answer it.

That weekend we attended the opening of the new Arabic Anglican Church, on the other side of town. We were to witness the baptisms of recent converts, and the church’s official opening.  The service was full of the Holy Spirit. The worship was wonderful – all in Arabic, with a different beat, a different feel, but God was there, and I could tangibly feel Him. It was fun.

We stayed for dinner, and as we tried to eat, the people pressed in on me.  Refugees from Syria, refugees from Iraq, all trying to get the rest of their family here. People with heart break and need. They represented the cases I avoided for years. I prayed for many, prophesied over others, and listened to their stories. They all wanted my help, for word had got around.

Heading home I said to my husband I was feeling a stirring. I confessed what I had prayed. I could not believe it – God was calling me to act for these people, and it horrified me. Yes, I felt for them, but I did not want to do their legal work for them, I didn’t want to feel their pain, hear the details, they were all so desperate. And the legal landscape had radically changed – I was underqualified… but God!

When I prayed, I had not envisioned this! When I prayed, I thought He would release me into my gifting in our church, in our local body, somewhere… anywhere. I thought He would place favour on me to minister, that I would have a green light to step up into my calling, while honouring, supporting and loving our leadership, or even maybe out into elsewhere. Anywhere where I could ignite others with a passion for God.

It was not to be.

Instead, I walked into the pain, trauma and hurt of these people.

I argued with God that others were more qualified, better trained, up to date, and professional. God just came straight back at me: “Step up.”

Every time I went to Him He would say: “step up.”

And when I argued I couldn’t do it, He just said “trust me – step up.”

I suggested I refer, that others were better than me in this area of law He just said: “yes, but they won’t pray as you will.”

And so I stepped up…

I did not know what I was doing, but each step of the way he would say:

“just do the next thing you know to do.”

When I quietened myself enough, I would know what I had to do next. The anxiety was dreadful. The stories traumatic. One day I cried my way through the reading and the videos, but each time I turned aside to talk to Him he would say again:

“Just do the next thing you know to do.”

So, in this time of change, turmoil and challenge, when our plans for 2020 seem lost in a haze of virus, lockdown, and shifting worlds. In a year that is not what we thought it would be, I encourage you to do as I am also trying to do (thankfully with friends and wise counsel by my side) and ask Him what he would have you do. Instead of looking at the entire job at hand, the surrounding trauma, the pain within you, while acknowledging that it is there, ask Him:

“What next?”

And then do it…

Just do the next thing you know to do.

Then it would be: “send that email”, “write that statement”, “make that phone call”…

Little baby steps.

And once taken I sought Him again, I would breathe, pray, listen, obey…

And as you do, the pieces will fall together, the focus will come, and the peace and the joy will rest upon you because…

God is Good!

Recently, as lockdown in Melbourne, Australia lifted somewhat, I headed out to my favourite organic store. I have known the current owners for 10 years or more.

A few years ago, one owner told me she had received a diagnosis of kidney cancer, and was all clear. She had then regained her vitality with the help of a naturopath – a practitioner she was recommending to me.

Recently, while at the store, we exchanged our usual pleasantries, and I mentioned the naturopath, saying I had referred my niece to her. She told me she had not seen her naturopath for some time, but she said she needed to go back since she felt that the cancer had returned – she was having some pain and other urinary tract issues.

I asked her about her urologist. It turned out that she was seeing the same one my mother had been seeing two years ago. That specialist did not seem to have the answers for my mother’s many complicated and life-threatening issues, so I T whether she was happy with the specialist. She said ‘no’, so I told how we had been fortunate enough to find another for my mother, by ‘chance’ who, while wanting in her bedside manner, was excellent, and was the only expert who had worked out my mother’s many issues. She had got my mother well and functional at 88, after 15 months of repeated hospital visits.

T asked me for the specialist details, and I then asked her if I could pray. She said ‘absolutely,’ so I said I would stand behind her, and I asked if she was ok with it. I told her I would place my hand on her lower back, while keeping at a distance. Note: it is still a requirement we keep 1.5m distance by law here in Melbourne, and sadly, restrictions have toughened up again because of hot spots breaking out as I write.

I stepped behind T. I placed my hand on her lower back, and I prayed. I commanded healing to come, peace to come, the oil of the Holy Spirit to flow – whatever came to mind as I listened to God’s prompting. She stood calmly, but it moved her. She teared up. She was visibly shaken. I desperately wanted to hug her. I told her I wanted to give her a cuddle. She felt God’s Presence. I released His love on her back and He reached into her heart.

Yes, through me, He releases His love. Does this make me a better, more holy, somehow stronger Christian? No, sadly no! It makes Him amazing that He can use anyone, including me, even when I feel weak (and I was feeling depleted and weak on that day). I’m still in awe that He will flow through me. Actually, I’m like an excited child every time He moves like this through me. I am amazed that the God who created the universe lives in me, and will flow through little me!

I must admit, the hardest thing about praying for owners of shops, or service people in stores, is that people are constantly walking around the store, and often customers suddenly appear, out of nowhere, and need or want service. As soon as I started praying, a customer walked to the counter and stood watching us. I felt awkward. No matter how many times I have done this, I still feel awkward. It’s inconvenient, it’s uncomfortable, but Jesus never promised us comfort, he just said ‘follow me’ and He goes about doing His Father’s business.

Is it easy?

Yes, actually it IS easy.

Is it convenient?

Rarely!

And so, I ask you, as you walk through your day, who can you reach out and ‘touch’ with His love. Who is He prompting you to stop for and reach out to?

Is stopping and praying for someone, like I have here, too much for you?

If ‘yes’ then ask God to bring to mind someone you can just send out a card to; send a text to; call up and arrange a zoom cuppa with; or go for a walk with? Stop and ask:

‘God, who would you like me to encourage today?’

I know He will give you a name or a face. Someone will come to mind. He wants you to hear for them more than you want to hear for them. And, when you get that prompt, I encourage you with all my heart, to step out and just say “hey, how are you doing?” Alternatively, send them a card, send them a text, suggest a walk, even just pray for them in the privacy of your home, and together, we will extend the Kingdom of Heaven.

I know He will move on your behalf as you step out in obedience.

He will delight in you, and He will touch them for His name’s sake.

I know this because…

God is Good!

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