Fire burns all the time…

In soaking group this week I recalled a truth and a ‘coincidence’ that at the time kissed my tired heart alive. It still leaves me in awe of a good God.

In 2008, I attended revival meetings in the USA. It was a big deal leaving my family. Master M was 15 months, and Mistress R not yet 5. I was home full time with them, and I missed them dreadfully. There were tears all round at the airport.

I came back from the US more on fire for God than I was before, if that was possible. I was already blazing hot, but I believed that the revival had set me more alight somehow, and I felt it was my job to keep that flame burning hot. Those women with oiled up lamps were onto something! (see Matthew 25:1-13)

I had already started to ‘stop for the one.’ I was seeing miracles, healings, and experienced profound encounters on the streets and in my own life. All unexplained by ‘logic,’ but none-the-less real. I would not have believed it if I had not experienced it myself.

As a young mum, life got busy, and the vigour seemed to settle somewhat. On the surface, I was running hot, but this striving perfectionist was not burning as hot as before, and it bothered me.

One afternoon, with the youngest asleep in bed, I sat at my desk and cried. R (5 years old by this time) sat on the floor quietly drawing. Deep in thought, she asked me how to spell a few words. Nothing profound. Nothing out of sorts.

Moments passed. I was miserable. I was so sad and knew I had somehow missed ‘it.’ I sat and struggling to work out how I could ‘fix it, fix myself’.

As I sat, a little person gently came to my side placing her masterpiece before me.

‘This is for you, mummy,’ she said with eyes shining. ‘God wants you to have this.’

And there, in red, orange and yellow pencil, were 5 words:

FIRE BURNS ALL THE TIME

I looked at her incredulously.

I had said nothing to her. I had kept my thoughts quiet in my mind.

Fire burns all the time…

The blaze may not be discernible, but it burns.

It does not take much to fan into flame.

Perhaps you are feeling the same?

If so, listen and look for God’s kisses through your days.

Spend time with Him (come for a soak with us even) and learn how to lean in.

A dry piece of kindling will catch fire and blaze hot if it leans into the flame; so too you. More kindling; greater flame. Community matters.

13 years on I reflect and see with some perspective. If I had kept the pace, I would have burnt out. I know some habits that help now, that I impart in teaching and in my writing. Longevity matters.

A wise man counselled me recently. He said if I have been able to keep doing what I have been doing for the last 10 years, then that was a sustainable Christian lifestyle. It has been a lifestyle that has space for the miraculous and family, friendship and community.

Fire burns all the time…

I believe 1 Samuel 3:3 holds one key.

The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was.

(1 Sam 3:3)

The lamp had not yet gone out. Samuel was lying down, positioned where God’s presence was. He did not recognise God’s voice at first, but with the help and guidance of a wiser, older one, he could respond when God called him a third time. Interestingly, Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord – where God was in those days.

These days God is within you; around you; and face to face with you at all times.

So, we are the Ark of God, but are we listening well?

Will we position ourselves to hear?

 

We may be a lamp but if we’re not plugged in, we can’t shine the way we’re designed.

Fire burns all the time…

Will you kindle it into a flame? Lay your head upon His breast and listen to His heartbeat for you, for your family, for the nations?

I retold the testimony briefly in this weeks Aussie soak time. You can have a listen here:

 

Beth’s testimony Fire Burns All the Time (from the mouths of babes):

Fire burns all the time, it will never go out because…

God is Good!

Reaching into an empty barrel only to find more than enough

Sometimes we have nothing left in the tank. The sense of tiredness is real. Self care is essential, so as you read, balance the message with permission to rest.

We reach into the empty barrel believing we have nothing to give; only to find an abundant flow.

I was at kindy pick up for my 3-year-old son when I saw a mum who I had prayed for previously at a play date. She had asked why I was fasting. I explained Australia was in revival and a mighty move of God was afoot across our wonderful nation. As we spoke, she shared some of her private and very painful history, after which I prayed for her. While I prayed, she felt electricity running up her arms, and she cried, feeling His presence course through her body. She had encountered a good and loving God.

On this day, she looked tired. I asked her about this, and the tears flowed. I gently placed my hand on her shoulder and prayed, releasing peace and rest. She reported her sleep was ok, but she was not feeling refreshed from her sleep. I prayed again, asking that one hour of sleep would be as four. I hugged her, nearly crying myself, and said to call if she wanted prayer again.

With said 3-year-old in tow, I planned to head home. Instead, I ‘knew’ I needed to go to a local shopping district. It was close to Christmas, so shopping was not what I felt like doing. However, hearing the nudge, I headed to the store I felt compelled to visit.

Uncertain why I was there, I looked. Feeling exhausted, I did not believe I had anything to give.

My barrel was empty.

Wandering about, I feigned interest. I noticed a woman with a brace on her wrist.

‘Person found,’ I thought.

I approached her and asked about the brace.

She had torn tendons in her wrist and thumb, so I offered to pray. She agreed and as I prayed she felt tingles, which continued long after I finished and she completed her shopping.

I turned towards God once more, knowing I had not completed the task. I felt tired, so I argued a little, but ultimately decided I would stay.

I could not shake the feeling I had not found who or what I was there for.

A woman had watched me closely as I prayed. I was aware of her, but I had ignored the feeling. I felt her watching me again and wondered if she was stalking me through the store.

 

Crossing her path, I smiled and turned to pass politely, but she suddenly stepped forward to speak.

Earnestly she said she felt stressed. She explained the stress was because she was hosting her son’s wedding reception at her home, followed closely by Christmas.

I agreed that would be stressful.

‘Thank you,’ she said.

The exchange puzzled me. Perhaps she needed to be seen.

I wandered on with my son, but there she was again…

I was sure she was intentionally placing herself in my path.

She engaged me in further conversation.

Tired, I did not want to chat. Small talk is a gift, a gift I do not posses. I have to work at it.

I stopped the sour grapes and simply threw caution to the wind. I offered to pray.

Excited, she readily agreed. She said she saw me on the other side of the store, praying for the other woman.

‘Ah, she had been watching me,’ I thought, ‘and she wanted prayer.’

Her name was Joy, so I prayed for Joy. I prayed for Joy to be released into her destiny; for joy (the Spirit of Joy) to come upon and within her; for Joy to receive ‘joy’; and for Joy to be Joy and all that entailed. In fact, it was the season for JOY!

I also prayed for the other circumstances she had shared.

As I prayed, I looked at her.

‘You can feel that, can’t you?’

She nodded, close to tears.

When I finished, she stared at me and asked if I knew some Christians on her street in a nearby suburb.

‘Oh no, here we go,’ I thought, but then she told me their names.

They were my pastors!

She said I was just like them – she told me she had been watching them.

‘… and now she had been watching me too,’ I thought wryly.

It was clear in that moment God was on her case. It was not a coincidence I was in that store. I was there for no apparent reason other than a hunch. My pastors’ witness impacted her. She was the one God had set His heart upon and sent me. She had a hunger to encounter the God my pastors knew; the God I knew; the God she wanted to know too- the one we all called ‘Lord,’ the one we all called Jesus.

I was there for her!

I explained I had not known why I had come to the shop. Yet, it was now apparent to me I had come for her.

It was apparent that God was on her case.

I wished her well and finished up in the shop.

My barrel was empty today-but God.

Life is busy at Christmas time. Children are excited, their behaviour can challenge. People make demands; others can be unkind. We can feel our barrel is empty and we have nothing to give.

However, God’s barrel is never empty. Despite me and my circumstances, as I reached into my empty barrel, God came through and touched three women – all in the space of an hour. Each woman needed a touch of God; all for different reasons.

As long as I will stop for the one, regardless of how I feel, regardless of me, my God will move to touch a hurting world.

Today I saw His arm long enough to embrace others through me; His grace sufficient for my needs to be met and His desires fulfilled. My barrel may feel dry, but His barrel is always full – His power is ever present.

Despite me, wine will always flow.

Since this day I have discovered people are watching. I know if they watch for long enough I will disappoint them because I am mere human; but if they will see through me to Him… that will not disappoint.

I have prayed for many who have yearned for a touch from God. There have been many such occasions. In my daughter’s school, a young teacher cried when I offered to pray. She explained she had been waiting, hoping for prayer. This shocked me, because I always felt so awkward in offering. But here was a woman desperate for the moment God saw her heart’s cry. Through her tears she said she thought she was going to miss out; I assured her God saw and loved her- she would never miss out.

We may think we are at the bottom of our barrel, there is nothing more to give. But, in the empty barrel, there is always more.

Wine will flow regardless of me because…

God is Good!

 

Special education her passion; Heaven her destination, God is Good!

With a new school term upon us, my daughter and I made a dash to our local shopping centre to ensure shoes would fit properly for the coming days.

As we ducked through the department store, a jumper (sweater) caught my eye. In a flash, I felt to buy it. On checking size and colour, I proceeded to the cashier’s desk.

A beautiful young girl called ‘Alicia’ came to serve us. We chatted as she processed the sale, and I knew I was to ask if I could pray for her.

Words of knowledge rapidly came to mind, so I gently felt my way through what I was hearing as we talked. I mentioned that working for the store was not her destiny. For some it is, I knew a girl years ago who loved retail and went on to a very successful career, but it was not for Alicia. In sensing this, I asked her about it, and she told me she was studying to become a teacher. I explained I was a Christian, and asked if I could pray for her, for her destiny to open up. She readily agreed. So I took her hand, listening for what God wanted me to pray. My 9-year-old daughter by my side.

The word ‘travel’ came to mind, and I sensed it was for overseas travel. I asked her about this and she said she was saving up to travel overseas. And so with the start of my ‘assignment’ I blessed her finances and declared ‘open doors’ to her destiny.

As I prayed, I ‘heard’ the words ‘special ed’.

 I queried her again, saying: “I know you are studying to become a teacher, but I sense that your heart is in special education, is that right?

She took a breath, responding that yes, special education was her passion.

So I prayed open doors into the field of special education, and I blessed the desires of her heart. I told her she would be a marvellous special education teacher. I did so because I knew she would. Indeed, I declared she would bless many ‘special ed children’ and their families, and she would alter destinies of those she taught for the better. I told her what I knew, and I stated as I prayed she would be a great blessing. It all encapsulated her heart’s desires, and I knew because it was God’s heart for her too.

I then heard the words ‘UK’ – ‘United Kingdom’

Again, I clarified by asking her if she was travelling to the UK. She said she wanted to travel to the USA to meet friends that were ‘having a blast.’ Smiling, I encouraged her to her to consider the idea of travel to the United Kingdom, explaining there might be opportunities and open doors there for her to teach in special education. I said to her that the UK was a wonderful place to live, but I also said:

I could also be wrong in that… just don’t discount the idea,’ and I smiled.

My daughter looked up and grinned at me, tugging my arm in excitement. Alicia stood in awe, amazed I would know these things about her. So, I explained I knew these things not because I was special but because she was special. God saw her. God wanted me to know them about her, so that I could pray them for her, that they would come to pass. In my knowing these details about her life, showed her that there was a God that knew her, saw her, and loved her enough for me to stop for her.

I then felt the nudge to ask her if she wanted Jesus Christ in her heart.

‘You haven’t asked Jesus into your heart yet, have you?’ I asked,

She replied no.

On the unction, I asked her if she wanted to do so.

She thought for a moment, ‘yes, I do!

So in the women’s clothing section of our local department store, a young woman gave her heart to Jesus Christ, accepting what He had done for her on the cross, and asked Him to fill her heart.

Once finished, I felt to give her my mobile (cell) number and name. I briefly explained my background so she would be comfortable to know I was not a Fruit Loop, and I left – my daughter’s face shining; me thoroughly washed in the love of Jesus (because that which flows through you, leaves a residual Presence, which is why it is so much fun to do this); and with Alicia staring at us as we left.

Anyone watching would have seen an ordinary mum and daughter, off to buy school shoes, hand in hand, leaving behind a beautiful and much-loved young woman, a bright destiny open, and a gift of salvation received.

‘Did she call?’

It would surprise me if she called.

There was no surprise. There was no call.

Some have criticised me for this, for leading someone to Christ but not following them up personally, taking their phone number, buying a Bible etc. Those people rarely stop for anyone as they go, so it’s easy to criticise. Some do stop and always follow up – I honour them. The year I had this encounter, I would have stopped for over 1000 people on my way. Some I mentored, others I prayed for and released to God.

The critic always plays a perfect game from their place of comfort.

I used to follow up every single one that I led to Christ, and in the early days I would follow up every one I prayed for too. I ran myself ragged. No one would help me from my local church, and I simply could not do it all on my own with two young children. By this stage, I had peace.

If God prompts me to get their number and chase them up, I will. If not, I know and trust He has their best interests at heart. I trust He will call them into His Church, into His Body, and I leave them free to contact me as and when they wish. It is their journey with a loving Father, and hence literally their call if they reach out to me for more for:

…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Cor 3:17)

Regardless, I do what I feel I am required to do. I ‘go about My Father’s business’ (Luke 2:49), as best can, and as I do, I am certain that they will know, that Alicia knows that…

God is Good!

 

Beloved Daughter

Grateful to have Beloved Daughter posted by Daughters of Love and Light as their featured written work.

Daughters of Love and Light have a focus that would make the Father’s heart sing.

I encourage you to have a look at what they are doing.

Beloved Daughter

Who are we?

Questions of identity stir. The depth of that quest for self is confronting, and so we keep busy, we keep moving…

The world says ‘Go, go, go!’

So we run.

We run until the light of the day goes, and when it has we flick the switch for more light and we party, eat, see friends, turn on screens, call people, text, comment, blog, find other things to do… for we must… not…. dare…. keep… still…, even for one moment! If we stop, that issue of self may chase us down and face us off squarely, showing us we are merely a puff of smoke on the horizon of the earth… read more here…

©Beth Kennedy 2021

 

He sees the one

A beautiful person house sat for us while we were away for the Easter break. She is dangerous to darkness because she will listen and respond. She shared the most lovely testimony after we came home, a testimony that continues to show that God is the God that sees and cares for the one.

© Andrey Kremkov on Unsplash

Easter Sunday morning she knew she was to head into St Pauls Cathedral in the city. She got herself organised and caught the train into town.

As she stood on the station, she realised she did not have a mask (masks are mandatory on public transport) so she quickly checked with the stationmaster who informed her she could jump on and risk travelling without one. Many do. She thought twice and caught the train, believing she would be late if she went back for her mask.

Arriving ‘on time’ she stood outside the church with another woman and mentioned she had forgotten her mask. The woman looked at her and promptly produced a spare. A God provided the solution.

Mask situation taken care of, she then realised with a level of frustration that she had forgotten daylight savings ended that morning – she was an hour too early.

Irritated, she considered heading off for a city jaunt. However, as she walked she kept finding herself drawn back to St Pauls Cathedral.

Go to the service she would!

© Sincerely Media on unsplash

Sitting in the large church, she estimated that there must have been approximately 2000 people in attendance. It was not the usual type of service for her, and so she was interested to know what God was up to in the moment.

She tells me she enjoyed much of the service until she heard a loud snoring emanating from a source behind her. Turning with the many others, she noted a woman about 2 rows back whose bowed head was in deep sleep.

The noise irritated many around my friend. People ‘tut tutted’ and nodded at each other while glaring at the snoring perpetrator. Yet, not a single soul got up to waken the slumbering woman, regardless that the service was being drowned out with the sound.

My friend said she watched, waiting for someone to awaken the woman gently. Sure someone would help, she watched the ushers wander past to count the crowd. Not a single person moved to wake the sleeper, to help her avoid embarrassment.

© Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash

Becoming certain that this was why she had been told to head into town, she argued with God.

Someone else closer would surely interrupt her…

An usher will surely come to her help…

Surely a Church full of Christians would gently engage with the woman to help her wake and avoid the shaming she might feel upon waking.

My friend prayed someone closer would help.

Not a soul moved.

Compassion flooding her, my friend got up, walked back the 2 rows, and sat quietly next to the woman. Once seated, she whispered to the woman who woke with a start. My friend told her gently that she had been snoring, that she was not there to condone, but to sit by her side. The woman did not look at her and said nothing. My friend continued to sit by her side.

As a trained nurse, she recognised the woman was suffering with some form of mental illness. She had perhaps had too much sleeping tablet the night before; whatever the cause, she did not know that she had been making such a noise.

The beautiful thing was that once awake, the woman fully engaged with the entire service. She sang at the top of her voice and listened with intent. God was clearly engaging her heart.

Who knows the outcome of that single act of inconvenient obedience!

© Ben Eaton on Unsplash

My friend sat, now understanding why she had gone to the service.

God knew.

God had seen this woman.

A kind-hearted Father wanted a lone woman to hear, engage and most importantly be protected from the shame that would follow had she realised what she was doing.

God had seen and sent my friend on an inconvenient journey because…

God is Good!

The God who sees (part 2)

© Sam Manns
God gave me kisses on Thursday. I had been flat, I needed encouragement.
He is the God who sees…

The next day, I saw a great friend. You know the type: encouraging, positive, loves your quirkiness and knows you well enough to brush the dirt away gently to reveal the gold while calling you higher. Community matters!

Home again, I sorted daughter responsibilities, and felt to take our dog for a quick walk. Her life long buddy died recently, and she is more needy these days.

As I walked I thought about two random moments from years ago. Both these moments involved drunk guys. Andrew had stopped for them. One was a homeless man whom Andrew took shopping – he had cried tears in delight as Andrew ‘just happened’ to pick up his favourite foods and load up the trolley. The other man wept in the dark as Andrew sat by his side in the local football stadium, talking about his broken marriage.

These ‘random’ memories should have pointed me to what would happen next – but I was none the wiser.

As I walked into the local footy oval, I saw a man to my left. At his feet was a wine box, with a couple of bottles of champagne.

© Michael Odelberth

He averted his gaze. I sensed sensed his shame and as I did my heart went out to him. His despair and sadness was tangible. With a nudge to acknowledge him as I walked past, I smiled gently.

‘Hello,’ I said.

A quiet ‘hello’ came back.

I continued to walk, and I ‘saw’ in my mind’s eye a picture of me sitting next to him on the park bench, talking.

I never choose to sit down next to drunk men at parks.

I prayed instead.

The image in my mind stuck.

‘I will stop for him and sit if you like. Just let me know if I stop on my first or second lap.’

As I came near to where he sat, he got up.

‘Oh, he’s leaving,’ I thought, ‘missed it.’

However, to my surprise, he merely shifted along to the next park bench. Some men had been working on the turf, so I reasoned he was perhaps uncomfortable. He seemed a gentle soul. He later told me he had become too hot in the sun.

His shift of seating made it difficult to join him, so as I walked close to the boundary fence instead and said, ‘Are you ok?’

‘No, I’m not, I’m actually really struggling,’ he replied.

His vulnerability was raw.

© Alicja Gancarz

‘Wow, that must be tough. Do you want to talk about it?’ I asked.

He did, and he started talking.

After a little while, I mentioned I was a Christian. I explained I had felt prompted to come over to see if he was ok. Note: I have great local non-Christian friends who would have done the same.

I told him about the picture I had of us sitting and chatting. He said that sounded nice.

We sat side by side on the park bench. I listened some more. He spoke. I prayed for him. He wept.

I told Him about the God who sees him, who loved him right as he was. I spoke briefly of my messes…

I told him God did not judge the drinking, the pain, the mess, the self medicating; instead, I explained, God adored him. I responded to a comment that God did not judge him, that Jesus had dealt with all that, but then I said I was not there to preach.

I repeated God loved him so much and merely hated the drink because it hurt him. I also said that God sees and hates the hurt that he was trying to stifle, and like a good Father wants to see him set free in order to have a wonderful life.

© Jen Theodore

As I prayed, I saw a picture of a little boy. The boy was so full of joy and excitement about football that his eyes shone with delight. Speaking to the broken dream in his heart, I prayed for the boy who had played football and cricket at the very oval we sat beside.

I told him he could not be any more loved than he was right now, just as he was. He shared his struggles to believe in a God that could ‘allow’ such pain in the world. I told him he had good questions, and I responded by telling him of my own struggles with faith when faced with the brutality my refugee clients had survived.

We kept talking, he wept, he drank, and my dog sat patiently by my side.

Eventually he said how much my saying ‘hello’ had meant to him.

It was a tiny, yet significant, act of kindness.

I shared how God prompted me to sit by his side, and how I had prayed for him as I walked all around the oval.

‘Really?’ he said…

© Natasha Ivanchikhina

I said simply, ‘He is the God who sees, He loves you, He cares’ and I thought of my encounter the day before.

He is the God who sees…

Eventually I stood, I needed to leave. I had to return home to help my mother, whose sister (my aunt) had just died. Promising to leave Andrew’s number at the reception of his accommodation, I said we would love to see him for a coffee. Drunk or not, it was ok; he was welcome just to catch up.

He said he would like that.

I felt the urge to give him a hug; but ignored it the first time. Feeling it again, I offered him a hug. He immediately responded ‘yes’ and threw his arms around me in a way that he was desperate for love. He was hungry for the acceptance that only human warmth can provide. As I hugged him, I hoped he felt the Father’s heart. I could feel his basic human need to be seen and to be loved.

I hope he calls for a cuppa.

I also hope he can kick the addiction and step into his inheritance. I had prayed a future I saw.

He has kicked the habit before. I believe he will again.

Yet, even if he can’t, he knows there is a God who loves him, right where he is at. He knows there is a God who sent a random female stranger to sit and talk on a park bench for an hour.

Yesterday, God gave me kisses…

He was the God who sees…

Today God gave him kisses…

He IS the God that sees…

I hope and trust that this man at the park tasted to see that…

God is Good!

© Suhash Villuri

My beloved daughter; My beloved son

Who are we?

Questions of identity stir. The depth of that quest for self is confronting, and so we keep busy, we keep moving…

The world says ‘Go, go, go!’

So we run.

Sitting to stop (listening to Schubert with scrolling images of beauty provided by dear friend) © Beth Kennedy 2020

We run until the light of the day goes, and when it has we flick the switch for more light and we party, eat, see friends, turn on screens, call people, text, comment, blog, find other things to do… for we must… not…. dare…. keep… still…, even for one moment! If we stop, that issue of self may chase us down and face us off squarely, showing us we are merely a puff of smoke on the horizon of the earth…

So who are we?

Recently we have had to

sit

still

and just

for a moment

breathe…

‘When can we get back to being busy?’ we ask.

The silence in the stopping is, um, well, it’s, …. ‘uncomfortable’.

Le Marque rose citrus fragrance on the wind ©Beth Kennedy 2020

I stop.

I listen.

My breath, the wind in the trees, birds, neighbours banging doors, traffic, a baby crying at a nearby child care centre, the whirl of the train as it pulls into the station close to my home (the wind must be a northerly for me to hear that), a plane, builders making a buzzing noise with an unknown machine, another train, school bells… these are just some sounds I hear around me…

I stop again.

I look.

Salvia in sunshine © Beth Kennedy 2020

A white butterfly, white roses, purple salvia, the orange/gold pansies planted in March, sunshine, a fly, green leaves stirring in the winds, shadows, sunlight, the greying woodgrain on the table where I work. It seasons with the weather…

I stop.

I smell.

Heat of the day, wet grass in the sun, jasmine blended with the fragrance of roses, hints of citrus riding high on the warm northerly breeze of the day, fertiliser spread on newly planted gardenias…

I stop.

I taste.

Today is the day… © Beth Kennedy 2020

The remains of an almond milk chai, combined with a sweet taste of honey comb and chocolate… ‘just one’ I say…

I stop.

I feel.

The heat on my skin, the hem of my dress briefly flutters across the skin of my leg in the breeze as I sit and write, the touch of the keys as I strike the keyboard, my hands are dry, my hair blows in the wind and tickles my face…

I stop.

know…

The world is groaning.

The earth vibrates to the sound of Creation – I hear it through my feet.

Life will go on, regardless of what I do, or don’t do (for even doing nothing is a choice).

… I know I am Beth…

Pot of Pansies – Joy © Beth Kennedy 2020

know I am loved – by husband, family, friends, God…

I know that regardless of what I do today, this day will pass. Use it for good, or not, again it is my choice…

I hope I use it for good…

BUT

The doing isn’t me, but neither are the sounds, sights, smells, tastes, feelings, knowings…

So who am I?

Am I a sum of these things?

The answer to that question is a journey deep within, and yet also beyond self. It is far; and yet the Answer is right there before us, asking us to stop, see, and know

Where to start?

‘It’s here’, He whispers:

‘My Beloved daughter,’

‘My Beloved son.’

The Father spoke over Jesus at the time of baptism:

You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.Mark 1:11 (ESV)

This declaration of love and acceptance comes before Jesus starts his ministry; before he starts the doing. Jesus has done nothing to earn His Father’s love… He IS loved – just for being. It is from this place of identity Jesus enters the desert, fasts, is tempted and then steps into ministry, into His life’s great opus. Jesus holds firm to who he is and whose he is. From that place of understanding He knows who, Whose, and ultimately what he is called to do…

The Father’s heart © Peter Russell 1994

Mark 1:11…

‘111 My beloved daughter; 111 My beloved son,’ He whispers to us on the wind.

Do you hear Him?

Will you sit and hear His heart for you?

Will you stop long enough and allow Him to sing over you… love you as you rest in the nook of His arms?

Will you ‘…wait a little longer’?

The quest to find out who we are, and so discover what we are called to do starts first with understanding we are His…

The age old question of ‘where do I come from, who am I?’ is pivotal… it’s primal.

We discover the answer when we learn to sit and listen to His heart beat. In doing so we find that we are completely, utterly, and even recklessly loved by the Creator of the universe; and, it is in doing so that each of us will find ourselves because…

God is Good!

© Beth Kennedy 2020

 

The question of identity and purpose are interchangeable, and are revealed through process. We will be running groups to help people discover who and whose they are next year. If you are interested in these please contact us and we will let you know about any upcoming programs.

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 could not find an authorised website to link to that version. The version on the ‘We Believe‘ album is a little quieter, and I personally find it more poignant.

Soil Matters

I love my garden.

It makes my heart sing.

Circis ‘Avondale’: Soil matters ©Beth Kennedy 2020

In Australia, this blossom is not common. It is so uncommon that people slow down outside our home, roll down the window and take photos (night and day). The display is breathtaking, and I feel so fortunate to have four in my garden.

Two years ago, during a very challenging season, two died. For many they are ‘just trees,’ but to me, they were a silent, gentle joy that died amid the storm.

I asked our gardening gurus who designed our garden to look, and as kindred spirits, they wept with me (figuratively). The deaths puzzled them. Everything around the trees was flourishing. The trees had put on a magnificent display…  and then died.

In my stubborn way, I sourced two more baby trees. My husband and I dug up the old and planted the new, with fresh, beautiful soil.

Look at them now. There’s two, one behind the other:

Circis Avondale: new trees a joy to behold ©Beth Kennedy 2020

With March 2020 came Lockdown 1. Like a gentle garden gnome, I crept into the garden and allowed my heart to sing quietly as the world mourned. With sad news, I would seek solace in the soil, in my garden.

March is Autumn for the Southern hemisphere. I did what I knew: I watered, I weeded, I turned the soil to let it breathe, I fertilised, and I waited. I then planted for Spring – pansies, silver beet, beetroot, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, snap dragons, mint, parsley… It was a time of rest in my garden.

People walked past, pointing to the vegetable patch, the trees, the colour of Autumn. I waved to them from my garden beds or my verandah. They would stop and comment on the pansies, planted by the gardenias; my cabbages and broccoli planted amongst the flowers, and many smiled at the mixture of vegetables and flowers in my vegetable patch.

Various family members sat on the porch chairs. We moved into winter, and weather permitting, I sought afternoon solace in the sun with a cup of tea, chai or coffee. I often sat quietly, cherishing the blessings around me. I found Joy amidst the storm, and I knew my trees would bloom come Spring.

One of the original 2 trees bloomed early, with magnificence. My heart sang. The rest followed. I felt peaceful Joy as I came in from my walks. During Lockdown 2, these gentle moments of beauty remind me, remind my family, my local community, that this too shall pass…

And then I noticed it. One of my original, beautiful Circis Avondales was dying. The one that had blossomed first, with apparent vigour and glory.

I called the experts.

It perplexed them; it made no sense. They were doing so well, and everything under the trees was flourishing – gardenias, daphne…

I continue to turn my gaze to the beauty ©Beth Kennedy 2020

If you look closely at the first photo above – in the bottom right-hand corner, you will see a little dried up stick. That stick is my dying Circis Avondale. I don’t have the heart to show you the rest.

I continue to turn my focus to moments of beauty, cherishing what is before me, aware a new tree will be possible after lockdown. Yet I am sad knowing I have lost 8 years of growth.

Last week, our garden guru solved the mystery:

‘My heart has been breaking over these Circis. I’m devastated but think the other trees had phytopthera. It’s a disease that can be in the soil or in mulch. …’

Oh!

I learnt two years ago that a dying (or even a dead tree) can bloom with great beauty. The sugar reserves  built from the previous season provide enough energy for a dying tree to bloom with grandeur. They looked amazing. But when it was time to develop further into the season – they died. They were all show, with no substance.

It was last Friday morning that God talked to me about my tree.

‘ … it’s about the soil’ I felt Him say as I woke.

This season… it’s all about the soil!

Many times last week I used the example of the apple tree. Friends call, with dreams and plans. With 200+ days in tough restrictions, my friends (and I) feel frustration. We know it’s a time of rest, reset, but we want to get going… produce fruit now

As I feel the frustration, I step back into the One that knows…

The apple tree grows, it buds, it flowers, insects pollinate, it fruits.

I need not push the fruit out. Fruit comes from a place of being who and Whose I am.

BUT

If the soil is not heathy… if disease, or dis-ease, creeps into the soil, not only will the crop produce less than what’s it is capable of, the tree risks death. It cannot flourish or even grow. It may look great on the outside as it dies, but in its beauty there is great sadness – nothing will remain.

The Israelites rested their land every 7 years from crops – they rested the soil. And every 50 years was a year of Jubilee… Wise people!

‘We are in a year of rest,’ I say to my friends (needing to hear it myself too).

‘… but rest does not mean “do nothing.”

This year is about the soil. We must care for our soil each day. We cannot afford to run on energy past, or on sugar alone. It’s a new season with additional needs.

‘Attend to the soil,’ He whispers, ‘so that what has been planted will grow. In its appointed time – fruit will come…’

There is no push.

With good soil maintenance, fruit will come…

In this season, I’m quietly addressing the condition of my heart. Everything is gently being turned over; everything is being changed, readjusted. Thought patterns and behaviours that I may have been able to get away with in a previous season, just will not carry me into the next time of growth. I am being called to a higher standard, and from that internal change, my outward behaviour will follow. I may fall, but I will get up. If I fail, I will fail forwards… asking forgiveness as I go.

I am being called to prepare the soil…

And if the soil is good, if I’m planted in a healthy community, and I listen to the ‘next’, I need not strive to grow fruit.

Fruit will come with ease because…

God is Good!

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.