Stories of a good God

Archive for the ‘God Testimonies’ Category

Can you see the one before you?

This morning I was a little flat. We are still in stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne, Australia, and although there was some lifting of restrictions last night, the changes do not really change anything for us in our little bubble.

Restless, I pulled on my big girl pants and drove to the naturopath to pick up some tablets.

As I chatted to the owner, I asked her how she was.

She felt the same – a little flat.

We chatted and exchanged comments, and as I did, I noticed the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit.

I stopped and asked: ‘can I pray for you?’

She looked, muttered ‘yes’ and instantly cried.

‘Oh gosh, yes, please, oh, gosh, that would be nice… I don’t know why I’m crying, how kind…’

Her words tumbled out through her tears.

I responded through tears: ‘it’s ok, I can feel the Holy Spirit here, and I felt to offer to pray…’

She came out from around the desk. I asked if I could place my hand on her back. I actually desperately wanted to hug her…

I prayed for her to be refreshed and to receive joy, hope, good sleep, favour for her children who would also remain at home when school returns in a week.

I also felt I heard a word for her, which I gave for the business, and she stepped back wiping away her tears.

There was nothing more to say in that moment.

We both agreed – three more weeks and perhaps it would be better for us both…

Gerberas to give. Nothing to lose ©Beth Kennedy 2020

As I drove away, I thought of the woman who had texted me that morning that she was closing her business. It was too hard. She texted all her customers; I was just one of many. I felt the nudge to drive to the concourse where her shop was located and buy some flowers, so I did, some beautiful large bright happy orange gerberas, thinking I would offer to buy some of her produce to help with the finances of closing shop and moving to the country.

If I was to do this, surely she will be in her shop clearing it out… if I had ‘heard’ right… right?

The shop was closed and no-one was answering my knock!

Maybe I got it wrong…

Frustrated, I then felt to drive back to give them to the naturopath practice.

‘Surely it would cheer her day,’ I thought. Nothing to lose. I did, but I felt it fell flat… I felt foolish…

Maybe I got that wrong…

Still feeling unsatisfied, I drove back to shop area, drove past the shop and the door was still shut with no-one inside.

So I took the Gerberas home ©Beth Kennedy 2020

‘Right’, I thought, ‘I’m driving home’, but it didn’t feel right to just drive home…

Soooooo, I went back again and bought some gerberas (this time smaller bright orange ones), hoping I had ‘got it right’ this time…

Nope – the shop remained shut and empty.

I brought the flowers home and they sit on my kitchen table, bright and cheery.

So I am telling this to encourage those that are giving this ‘stopping for the one’ a go. People that have heard many of my stories think somehow that I get this stuff right, all the time…

I don’t!

You will get it right sometimes.

You will get it wrong sometimes, but if it blesses someone who cares, God loves your heart, and someone gets blessed.

You will get the timing wrong sometimes – I will give it another shot if I can to bless the woman whose business is closing. Let her know her community cares.

And sometimes you just don’t know what you were hearing… but try to step out any

way.

The bottom line is, giving it a go counts – giving it a go is a ‘win’.

So, even though I feel like I missed it, I didn’t.

I loved on a woman who was struggling, and I tried to love on another.

Incline your ear, regardless of how you feel.

Stop for the one as you go, and you will learn, as you go…

And I can guarantee that you will taste and see that…

God is Good!

 

Let me know when you thought you got it right, but then you got it wrong, or you thought you got it wrong… but did you?

What you carry you spread – the honey will flow because God is Good!

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.

Be still and know that I AM God…X marks the spot – God is Good!

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!

It’s time for new shoes, it’s time for a new walk – God is Good!

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’?

Just do the next thing – God is Good!

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!

Stepping out in lockdown – 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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