Stories of a good God

Archive for the ‘Obedience’ Category

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!

And there was rain – God is Good!

This is a friend’s testimony. It demonstrates how obedience, prayer and daring to believe can cause breakthrough for communities and areas of land. I hope this testimony is an encouragement in this time for all of us to continue to pray for breakthrough – for the rains of the Holy Spirit to come and demolish every demonic stronghold, every demonic attack, every sin, every sickness and for those rains of His Holy Spirit to flood the lands with healing, salvation, joy, peace, righteousness, and hope because … God is Good!

A, my friend, thank you for daring to take this prophetic praying journey as a woman on your own, sleeping in your car, through the centre of Australia, and for being willing to go as God led. I honour you for your bravery and sheer determination to believe that one woman, with God is a majority.

A writes:

In June 2018 I felt God ask me to take my Subaru Outback (an all wheel drive station wagon) and go outback [middle of Australia through dessert etc].

I travelled up the centre of Australia, a trip I had never done before. I slept in my car, and did my best to listen to where God wanted me to go.

This is one of the many stories on my journey.

I had stayed overnight in freezing conditions at the Orroroo Caravan Park in South Australia, so cold the water pipes had frozen over.

I left early the following morning to visit Magnetic Hill, a hill that has a magnetic attraction that is so powerful it will literally pull your car up hill. You shut off the ignition, put the car in neutral, take the hand brake off and your car moves – up hill.

When I arrived I couldn’t find any signs to show me what to do, and with no one around to ask I decided to pull over to see if I could get mobile [cell phone] reception. As I pulled over I noted that there was a dead sheep, the area was in deep drought and this was a common sight, but as I checked my phone I noticed a small amount of movement.

Grabbing my drink bottle I went through the pasture gate to investigate and found that the sheep was indeed alive, but struggling. I gave it some of my water, and fed it some hay from nearby, and spoke gently to him, reassuring I would find someone to help.

On the other side of the dirt road there was another driveway. I jumped back in my car and drove down it in the hope I would find a farmhouse or someone to help. There were big sheds and a car, but after wandering around and calling out for a while I found no one so I left a note with my mobile number on the driver’s seat of the car informing him about the sheep.

I went on my way, praying that the sheep would be ok, and as I did I found a small hand made sign telling visitors what to do in order to experience Magnetic Hill it said to put your car in neutral, let the brake off, and the car would travel uphill,

So I had fun. I went forwards a few times, and also tried it with the hill behind me so the car was taken up the hill backwards too. It was a strange experience, and it had me intrigued.

On my way out I saw a farmer, so I stopped and told him about the sheep. It turned out that it had been his car I had left the note in. He said it was his neighbour’s farm across the road but he would see to the sheep. I asked why the sheep couldn’t get up and he went on to explain that the sheep would be weak from lack of feed due to the drought.

I responded by saying, ‘okay, I will pray for rain.’

I drove on my way, relieved that the sheep would be cared for, and as I did I prayed for rain, tipping half the water in my drink bottle out the window onto the dusty road as a prophetic act.

That evening I received a text from the farmer to say he had righted the sheep and that it was going to be fine.

It was about a week later I overheard a conversation between campers saying they had just been to Magnetic Hill, and they mentioned that it had been raining while they were there – after I had prayed.

I was overjoyed that my prayer had been answered and also that I had overheard that my prayer had been answered in that conversation. I ask, what are the chances of that?

The chances of that are ‘BUT GOD’ I say.

He will not only answer your prayers for the nations, but He will also show you at times how He does answer your prayers, so that you can see that you and God are a majority because

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

‘God wins with a pair of 2’s’ (Bill Johnson).

And this is purely and simply because not only is He powerful, but …

God is also very, very Good!

“Step up” … “just do the next thing you know to do” because God is Good!

In recent years I have felt a call from God to return to a something I once did in 1996-1998.  To be honest I have judiciously avoided ever getting involved again, purely because it’s a tough industry for anyone that cares.

I have a background in law.  As a young lawyer, I was transferred to the immigration department at the firm I worked in, I was registered as an Australian migration agent (in addition to my law qualifications) and I was sent to Port Hedland (read middle of nowhere, amazing outback mining town on the far northern coast of Western Australia – pigeons are red from the red, red dust, huge road trains hammering up the highways, and huge salt mountains from local salt farms that shone to my right each time I drove from the little airport to the small township as a very green, young, “stars in my eyes” lawyer).

Port Hedland at the time was the location of one of the many Government run detention centres that Australia had for illegal migrants that had entered Australia by boat (read refugees that had no visa to enter the country, hence “illegal migrants”, that had been tricked by people smugglers to pay exorbitant amounts of money to get a berth in a dangerous boat to Australia).  These people were better known as “boat people” back then, and it was these types of people that have suffered terribly at the hands of Australian governments (from both sides of politics).  They are known by many names, but they are known more  correctly as human beings that are frightened, traumatised and whose dreams have been smashed and that are seeking to be recognised as “refugees” so that they may be granted a protection visa, because they need protection due to a fear of persecution in their country of origin.

I was completely thrown in the deep end.  During that time I worked and represented Chinese nationals, Algerians and Iraqis (who were then escaping the Gulf War recriminations of Saddam Hussein from the 1991 war).  The Afghanistanis came later, after I left in 1998. I primarily represented Iraqis at the time (many doctors and other types of professionals) who had escaped the ravages of persecution due to their religious beliefs, their cultural affiliations, and their family associations.

The work was tough emotionally, and I was mocked by my co-workers that I wore my heart on my sleeve, to which I responded that I would rather have someone like me represent me if I were a client, then someone like my co-workers, who were looking to meet budgets and many of whom simply did not care (I worked for a private firm that was contracted to provide legal assistance back then).

I left the law firm in early 1998, not long after my father died, when I realised that the ladder was against the wrong wall, and I went into private practise and did some corporate consulting instead, which pretty much finished up in 2002.  I had my first child in 2003, my second in 2007 through out which I did a little, but not much, immigration work from an office at home – throwing my energies into caring full time for our two poppets, learning and growing in my love of Jesus – it was a choice of love over money at the time, and a decision to intentionally invest into the next generation, and into my faith.

Well, that is a long explanation to now move on to say that a couple of years ago I was frustrated.  I felt that there were no freedom for me to fully express my gifts, to serve freely.  I was serving faithfully within the capacity that I was permitted to serve – I was leading a prayer team that met and prayed for the church once a fortnight, I often interceded privately for leaders, and others, I would stop for people on the street as I felt led, I was mentoring one or two people privately at the time and walking with them into their call, I served in kids church, I played in the worship team, but there was no freedom to fully step into prophetic words etc that I had held close for a long time – in fact every door of ministry was shut, sealed and secured, and I was in the throws of walking through what may be described as the dark night of the soul, and I could not see anyway that any of the prophetic words spoken over me by recognised international prophetic voices would ever come to pass – I still don’t see how, but I am more at peace with that one now.

So, I prayed what I now know to be a dangerous prayer – “God I love you, and I want to serve you, but I do not see where I am free to fully serve, give me something, show me what you would have me do” (or something along those lines).

Within days Rev Farag called.  Rev Farag (and his family) were clients over a five plus year process of getting them permanent residency.  He (and his family) are now friends.  He is an Egyptian Anglican Priest (who became a Christian years ago as a teenager) and who has led churches and orphanages for the deaf in Egypt, who has worked in outreach into Jordan, and Upper Egypt, and who to this day continues to lead churches, outreaches into Egypt and now into Australia, who speaks and travels and has completed peace keeping courses and who is a world recognised expert on teaching teachers of the deaf in Arabic communities, and who is heading up a team to translate the Bible into Arabic sign, for Arabic deaf people to hear the Good News of Jesus).  It took more than five years to help him obtain permanent residency, during which time his daughter was being kept at home due to kidnapping attempts and they were dealing with attacks on the road and at their offices etc.  With his case I found myself back in somewhat familiar territory of people in danger, at risk, who beg for help, and for whom I felt responsible.  I knew I had to stay the line for his case, I felt God on it, but after his case (which on the surface had looked like a basic case) I did not want to do any such work again, ever!

Well, back to the call from Rev Farag.

Rev Farag calls and says “B, I need your help, I need you to see some of my people, I need someone I can trust”.

At first I said “no”.  I explained that I was no longer practising in immigration law (I had decided that I was not going to take immigration work any more, it was too hard balancing the case loads with the responsibilities of full time at home parenting, which had turned into parenting of two ballet children at the elite level (the result of another dangerous prayer).  It was too much to manage, together with the various health issues I had been dealing with, and that I was still overcoming, and to be honest I didn’t want to be a lawyer, or to work as an immigration agent any more. I had turned my back on that, and was waiting for what God had in store for me.

Rev Farag did not let up.  He said “just see one”, so I agreed to see one – he said it was a spouse visa case so I thought what could it hurt?  I still had a valid migration registration, I could give an advice and help one.

I saw one, gave an advice for a couple of ours for free, discouraged them from proceeding with what they wanted to do with me, but they insisted (in fact begged me to do the work) and so I helped them at radically discounted rates, and left it at that.

I then got another call from Rev Farag: “B we need your help I need someone I can trust”

I sad “no”.

He persisted and said “just see one”.

I reneged feeling God on it, and I arrived in town where I was meeting him and this one in town, and there were three desperate people – all refugee cases, or a variation on the theme. I had been tricked!

I heard them out and gave a basic advice to each.

One was a Syrian (“boat arrival”), who had just recently given his heart to Jesus, and whose wife and 3 young daughters were in a huge refugee camp; the second was an Iraqi Catholic nun whose family overseas had survived a church massacre, and other horrors after the 2003 war on Iraq, whose family had fled ISIS as ISIS invaded northern Iraq, and one was a woman who was being tricked by a man who she had fallen in love with – that was the easy case to advise – the others I desperately wanted to avoid.

I went home and battled with God.

I knew I had to take the cases, but I struggled.  I said “God I love you, but I don’t want to do this” He said that He wanted me to “step up …” in fact He was quite firm, whenever I argued he’d say “step up” and not much more.

Regardless, I argued some more – “the laws have dramatically changed, I haven’t worked in this field for 20 years, there are other people so much more skilled than me…”

All I heard was “step up”.

I said “why me” I don’t want to do this – remembering my prayer and wishing I had never prayed it, and He explained quietly that I would pray for them, I would pray for the clients, that others would not do that, and that it was time for me to “step up”.

So I did …

I had nightmares to start with – blood dripping down walls, my children attacked by ISIS, threats against my safety, running from crumbling buildings war torn and bloody – dreams such as those haunted my nights, and I would wake heart racing, seek God, try to discern whether it was a demonic attack, or whether it was a God dream of warning, I would have to calm myself, and remind myself that if God was calling me to this, and I believed He was, so then I would be ok, I would be able to handle the cases.  I had to bring my thoughts under the authority of Jesus Christ.

The anxiety was extreme.  The law had dramatically changed.  I had to sit through and read numerous accounts of extreme terror and cruelty, take statements from traumatised people that took hours, learn the law as fast as I could. I even had to watch a video from Baghdad News of one of my clients walking out of a church massacre, as one of only a few that had survived the attack.  The scene was filled with dismembered bodies of Christians whose only “crime” was that they had dared to attend church and worship. I was at sea. I would freeze in fear not knowing what to do, and each time I would seek God, He would simply say quietly: “just do the next thing you know to do and I would feel a gentle leading”, and so I would, “just do the next thing”, all the time my heart racing as I told my mind and body to be still and know that he is God.

That was over two years ago.

I am still doing the work.  I still feel overwhelmed.  I cry when the refusals come.

I don’t have a huge number of cases, I don’t have the resources, but I have enough to be overwhelmed at times.

I held the nun as she sobbed, telling me (as the first person she told) that her mother had died in Turkey of breast cancer the night before, and that she had not seen her before she had died – her mother had been refused a visa three times prior to me taking on the case.

I had a client who was very upset with the news that his family had been refused help, who stood up and looked like he was going to get violent with me (some think I am the magic, even though I tell them I am not, I always explain that it takes prayer, diligence and a great deal a favour against the odds to be granted a protection visa).  Rev Farag was thankfully there as interpreter on that occasion stood and talked him down, as I made myself very small at the table.  As I did, I had a flash back to a time I was threatened by a client years back in a locked interview room, my hand on the hidden emergency buzzer, that he would have me killed if he did not get a visa.

I had cried when this man’s case was refused.  I called and told him and we met. He was furious with me at the meeting, and I was the blamed for it’s failure, when in fact there had been circumstances well beyond my control at play.

I sat at that moment and reminded myself that God had asked me to step up.

I have taken on more cases – they just come.  I tell them I have no magic, I have no contacts or special relationships, there are no guarantees, but I do pray.  They are all sad.  They are all desperate.  Some want me to act, even after I disillusion them, others say they had through I was a guarantee, and they go to the agent that will promise them the world.

I am now working at times with a play group leader from another church who works with refugees in a country town church.  She’s overwhelmed at times too.  I am a point of reference for her, for which she is grateful, a legal min in her corner to work things through and to refer people to if required.

Not many cases have been successful to date.  It is much like throwing the fishing line in again and again in the hope that a fish will just jump into the boat, such is the numbers.  It’s statistically worse than lottery odds – but God says keep going.

The refusals – I sit and cry before I call and tell them the news.  They know I care.

I resubmit …

The wins are AMAZING! Often the clients have no idea just how amazing a win is …

Many professionals don’t do the work because it is too depressing.  You mainly get refusals – and that is not fun!

I know my job is to prepare their statements, make sure the forms are completed well, and make sure everything has been told that should be told … and pray.

The cases I take are families who are here, that have loved ones waiting for years overseas.  The families here sponsor them to come.  Generally their loved ones have had a number of refusals before they come to me for help, so there are often no other visa pathways available to them. I have a well qualified single female Iraqi teacher, a young talented male graphic designer (who cant leave because his mother and two younger brothers need his protection in Turkey); I have a family that are the last generation of multiple generations to carry the secrets of how to weave fine beautiful textiles from scratch (from sheep or goat to finished product) – many of these people can trace their heritage right back as being original inhabitants of the lands that Jonah visited (now the current northern Iraq area) and may be related to some of the oldest Christian heritage we have (evidence of which was sadly destroyed by ISIS as they went through Northern Iraq).

To be honest, I have felt other stirrings about my destiny, and I have started stepping out into various other prophetic words in obedience as I have felt led.  I have no idea how that will play out.  I had hoped that maybe this time, this season of refugees would come to an end, but recently, at a conference where Heidi Baker was speaking, I felt I heard Him say again as I was overshadowed by Him, “refugees” and so I know the season has not ended … and I do not know where it will lead.

I have had a few refusals recently.  I will prepare the paper work to resubmit. One I am hoping to get in through a sponsored refugee visa – but he needs a job offer (that is my graphic designer) and even if he gets a job offer, I then need to work out how to raise about $40,000 for the family … it’s a “new” idea being offered by our government – let desperate people find a job offer and we may give them a visa if they pay for everything … as I started the process I threw the responsibility to God saying “well you work it out”, and to be honest Heidi Baker’s testimonies encourage me that God can and will do amazing things if I just keep at it for the one in front of me …

I don’t know where any of this will go – I just know to keep on stepping up and “do the next thing I know to do” and the rest is God’s work, and I trust and hope and choose to believe (because at times I do struggle given all they have been through) that He will take care of them, and their cases, even if they are refused, because …

God IS Good!

Treasure at the Tip – God is Good!

One of our more retiring, gentle members of our group, called P, has been moved more and more by Holy Spirit to step out and pray for those around him as he goes.  He was the person who stopped and gave all he had in his wallet to a busker in this earlier story here and he was the person who was prompted to pray for a girl at Nandos in this story here

Our church recently hosted carols for Christmas.  He noticed a guy sitting outside in the warmth of the evening and he felt a prompting, which he is becoming more accustomed to recognise now, and he went over and quietly chatted to this person.  This act of stepping out for P is huge, as I said he is a gentle giant … gentle and mighty!

He also told me another recent God is Good story this last Sunday … where he found treasure at the tip.

P said he felt he was meant to drop some trash off at the tip on his way to work.  He headed off and unknowingly headed towards a complete God set up.

He said he stood in the line at the counter to pay, and a young girl looked at him and said something like “you look like your an older man, a father, a husband, will you please give me some advice about something?”

P was a little taken aback but said “sure” and the girl proceeded to show him a picture saved on her phone screen of the Superman actor in costume.  She said ” my partner doesn’t like me having this as my screen saver, he thinks it’s wrong and is really upset, what do you think?”  She apparently had been taking a poll with people as they came to the counter.

P looked at her and asked her a few questions (wise, gentle mighty giant).  He asked her why she thought her partner would not like it.  He explained that his wife had been through a tough divorce before meeting and marrying P and she would not like it if P had a photo of another woman (even dressed up in costume) on his phone, that it would be odd to do something like that.  He then asked the girl whether her partner may feel rejected, or had gone through anything to make him feel rejected, and she said yes that he had been through a nasty breakup/divorce.  P then suggested she reflect on that, and  the light started to dawn.

He then said to this girl, would you like me to pray for you (he did this while the line got longer behind him with people waiting to pay (bold, wise, mighty, gentle giant).  She said that she would love that, and so he prayed for her.

P had trash to drop at the tip.

God had treasure for P to find.

Because P is becoming more attuned to the voice of God as he goes about his day, he is finding the treasure hidden for him, and he is loving that treasure as God directs, and as he does, he is showing the world around him that they are loved, they are valuable and that …

God is Good!

Baptism and Breakthrough – God is Good!

You may recall a story I wrote up  story about a friend of mine receiving peace after seeking prayer when she was advised that her husband, whom had been imprisoned for a serious crime against her, had been let out of jail early.  See link here for story. Well I felt it high time to update the story.

My friend “H” has plugged into our new local church.  She comes, sits, receives from God, receives prayer, at times cries and all the while she is being healed by a good God.  She has also become involved with a community who love and encourage her and she loves and encourages them back. She has brought a friend who has occasionally visited, and she has consistently pursued God, as He has pursued her.

H has two teenage girls.  While resistant to coming to church themselves, they have seen the difference and have supported their mum in attending church.  The eldest, a dancer, has received prayer, and has recently suggested that a prayer request be sent out for her little sister who has recently been quite ill.

The eldest was in a vocational ballet training school, but with the release of her father from jail and the associated trauma, she started to suffer from increasing panic attacks and anxiety. The church community prayed for H and her girls, and their various challenges.  Little by little we have seen break through after breakthrough come about in all their lives.

H’s ballet daughter found a brilliant local ballet teacher who loved and encouraged her and although the panic attacks continued around attending the vocational training school, she found someone who would encourage her and who was kind and understanding to her challenges.

The opportunity for baptisms came around, and I encouraged H to learn about baptisms and be baptised.  She committed to the weekly classes with our pastor and she went from strength to strength, looking forward to the day of her “dunking” knowing that much would wash away in the shear act of obedience to God’s word.

H’s day of baptism came, and her entire family came to celebrate the day.  A large number of us headed down to the beach (a short walk from church) and celebrated as she committed her life to Jesus in public.  Her daughters were intrigued and were happy for her.

Now recently, as a church, we have just come out of three weeks of prayer and fasting.  On a Sunday morning,  just prior to the service H told me that her ballet daughter had frozen that morning with another panic attack and had been incapable of getting up and going to a concert rehearsal at her new ballet teacher’s school.  Her daughter was exhausted and asleep at home.

The service began with the usual worship, and then an elder got up with a huge thick piece of chain in his hands, and he proceeded to talk about how Jesus had set us free.  We had all been given a little piece of chain as we had walked in, and he encouraged us to come forward and cast our chains down at the foot of the cross.  As H went forward, tears streaming,  she cast hers down and myself and another church friend gently laid our hands on her back as she cried.  We knelt, and prayed with her, for freedom from the past, the pain etc for both her and her girls, knowing that as we prayed we were standing before God in the gap for her girls.

The moment was over, and we retuned to our seats, and within minutes H turned to me, smiled and whispered that she had to go and take her daughter to the rehearsal!  Her daughter had texted that she had just got up and she wanted to go to the rehearsal – the panic and fear was gone … the chains had been cast down … FREEDOM!

H later said the timing was amazing, that it would have been as she cast the chain and we had prayed that her daughter had decided to go to the rehearsal.  H shone with the excitement knowing that she had just witnessed another miracle, that as she had cast that chain down at the foot of the cross, and she had prayed for freedom for her daughters, her eldest had received it in the form of relief from anxiety and a desire to get on with the practise session.  Apparently the day went without a hitch and her girl came home shining.  I don’t believe that she has had an anxiety attack about ballet since …

The back story to all this is that the elder is a very quiet, gentle man, not prone to prophetic acts but he had a strong sense twice that week that he needed to lead the way he did that morning with the chains.  And so, loving God more than his own comfort, he had gone and bought the chains, and done what he felt God was asking of him, and through that act of obedience, and the prayer and the holy moment that followed (for there was a real tangible sense of holiness in the air), a young girl had been set free of anxiety for the day, and she could dance once again, all because …

God is Good!

 

It’s a Baby Boy because God is Good!

Stop by and pray for her” I felt Him urge me again … and so I turned and found a park and got out of the car.

It was a prompting to pray for a girl who was the owner of a local clothing store.  I had been in there 2-3 weeks earlier and at the time I got the distinct feeling that she had wanted a baby, but had not yet conceived.  I had not offered to pray at the time, sensing it was not quite the right time …

This particular morning, on my way out, I felt Him urge me to make time that day to stop and pray.  I was heading out and I asked Him to remind me on my way home if He wanted me to stop.  I was actually flat-out trying to get ready for a major trip overseas, and we were leaving the following day …

True to His word, and to my request, God had reminded me on my return trip, and so, having parked the car, I made my way over to the store.

I wandered in, and after the usual greetings, I told her why I had stopped by.  A little taken aback, she had said yes she had been trying to get pregnant, that it had not happened for her and her husband yet … that she would absolutely like me to pray.

Ironically she had the same name as my daughter, whose conception was a miracle.  I explained the story to her, and laid my hand on her gently and prayed, as I felt led, asking God to do for her what He had done for me those 11 or so years earlier.

She got teary, and said thank you and I left, saying I would pop back in after our trip.

We went away, returned, and life went on as usual until about 3 months later, when I felt the gentle prompting to return to the store … to just wander through and see how she was getting on …

She was there and was serving a customer, so I waited.  When she was done she turned to me and said very quietly, that not even her family knew, but … yes … she was pregnant and she was overjoyed!

She went on to tell me how freaky the timing of my coming into the store that day had been, that her “fertile day” was the day after I had prayed, and that she had conceived that day (God had answered the prayer within 24 hours) … but as she spoke a shadow fell across her face and she said with great vulnerability that she was so frightened that what had been given would be taken away … she was frightened of a miscarriage and she searched my face for confirmation it would be ok …

“No pressure” I thought … but then I chose to step into the truth and told her that God is a Good God, a Kind God, and He does not give just to take away, and that He would not have had me stop to pray for her with that sort of freaky timing, just to allow the baby to die … and I told her so, and I asked if I could pray again …

Looking relieved she said “yes” and I gently laid my hand on her stomach, and prayed for that baby … I prayed that the baby would be healthy, full term, sleep well, and that the pregnancy would  be a blessed and easy one … the fear on her was palpable, but I felt it leave as I prayed and I said to her that when and if the fear returned she was to remind herself of her own testimony … and that God was all over this, that the baby was His own good idea and that the baby would be fine!

Oh faithful one that I am (and I say that with great Aussie irony!) because I did get into the car and start to intercede for her and the baby as I drove away … but as I did I felt a quiet confirmation in my spirit that all would be well and so in faith  I stopped and thanked Him for His loving kindness …

And yes, late last year, I drove past the store and I saw the sign in the window of the store …

It’s a baby boy!”

Purely and simply because …

God is Good!

 

 

 

And he played footy that Saturday

This is an older story – an early one in my journey of “stopping for the one”.  It was the start of a journey that this man went on over the next year or two, where he started to question his atheistic belief system, and wonder whether he could also be loved by God.  It was also the start of a journey for me where God dealt with me quite firmly about my issues and my embarrassment in stopping in a known environment amongst peers … it is a story in which He essentially says … “get over yourself, stop being a prude, kneel down and pray …”

It was mid Winter and I was driving to school to collect my daughter.  It was smack in the middle of the Aussie Rules football season and in typical Melbourne style it was raining a drizzly type rain.

As I drove I saw a stay at home Dad that I had got to know called M.  He was walking to school in the rain.  M is a rough gem who wears shorts and thongs or runners all year round (winter and summer), and who had got many of the women’s tongues wagging up at the school for his lack of  “charm” … in other words he called “a spade a spade”.  I liked him.

I pulled over and offered him a ride.  He responded by saying that that normally he would say no, but that on this day he would say yes because he had hurt his knee.

He jumped into the car and we rode the short distance to school, chatting as we went.  I asked about the knee and he said that it was an old injury that required a knee reconstruction.  By the time we were in the playground waiting for the kids to come out I knew I had to offer to pray, but did not know how to do it with him – in front of all the other mums at school pick up.

God had given me a picture, and I had just learnt that God will sometimes give us a picture of how He wants us to pray to release a healing.  The picture I had received was that I was to kneel down in front of him and place my hand on his bare knee and pray as I knelt.

I offered to pray.  M said did not believe in any of that stuff but that I could give it a go if I wanted.  He then went on to say that if it worked it would be great to be able to play football that Saturday … but he doubted it would work.

I did not want to kneel – it was wet on the ground, he was a man wearing shorts and I felt it was inappropriate to kneel in front of him in the wet with my hand on his bare knee … and, what was worse, it was in front of all the other mums, milling around waiting for their kids to come out of school!

So, in my “wisdom” I placed my hand discreetly on his shoulder and started to pray.  As I prayed I felt/heard a strong rebuke from God who said “Get on your knees” – essentially saying “I showed you how to pray, now do it”.

I took a deep breath, focusing on the fact that M could be healed, and told him that I needed to place my hand on his knee.  And so I knelt in the wet, with the cold and wet coming through my jeans, in front of the car park mums and prayed.  The mums looked at me and I felt very embarrassed, but went on regardless.

While on my knees, feeling very vulnerable, I looked up at him and asked if he felt anything – he said he felt heat and so I kept praying and then asked him to move the knee around … he did and he felt some relief so I prayed again, still on my knees and I then stood and asked him to try it out …

He bent it back and forth and said all the pain was gone.  I asked him to jump on it, jumping up and down next to him as I did.  He jumped up and down on it and looked amazed and said there was no more pain and that he would not have believed it … but that he had felt the heat and that it was amazing, that maybe he was wrong about all this stuff …

Delighted (and that is an understatement!), I got on with collecting my daughter and left it at that …

I saw him the following week and asked how he had got on.  He said, like a little kid, with absolute joy, that he had played his game of footy that Saturday!

And I left knowing without a doubt that …

God is Good!

Myer is full of the Spirit of God – A prodigal daughter comes home

I had a short amount of time to do some chores, wanting to get back home to complete some study.  I went to the local shopping centre and felt I was to walk through Myers on the way to the shops that I had to visit.  I had my first treasure hunt list in my bag and thought I may find a treasure (see Kevin Dedmon’s book – The Ultimate Treasure Hunt).

I bought a t-shirt in Myers for my husband and was served by a beautiful woman.  I asked if I could pray a blessing for her, telling her that she was obviously a blessing to so many others with her lovely disposition.  She agreed.

I felt nothing in particular as I prayed a 10 fold return on the blessing that she had been for others.  I trusted that God followed the blessing through.

I then headed towards the escalators feeling that I was to go upstairs through Myers to where I thought I was headed …

As I went up the escalator I saw C.  I had prayed for her before – she had graves disease which was causing her right eye to bulge.  She had told me it could eventually cause blindness.  I called to her as she headed up the escalators and I asked how she was.

She told me that she had been loosing more sight and pointed out that her eye was bulging.  I offered to pray a “quickie” since she was heading back to work after a break.  She agreed.

I laid my hand on the side of her face, after asking permission, and prayed, quoting the blind shall see.  She immediately felt something in her eye area.  I laughed and told her that her eye looked less bulgy than before.  I told her to go to the toilets to check it out.  She left excited, saying she would.

I checked out the sheets on sale in Myers and then felt to go to Adairs instead … where I got the best product and price … God’s favour and blessing!  I returned some shoes and then felt that I was to head straight back through the third floor of Myer to go home – I thought I would stop for a takeaway coffee  …

As I headed through the 3rd floor God reminded me that I needed to buy some pyjamas for M.  I felt great – this limited shopping time was turning out to be an excellent time of prayer, ticking off chores, and blessing and favour all rolled up in one … a smorgasbord outing with God!

I stood with my purchases at the cash register and waited.  An older lady called J was all anxious etc.  Her credit card would not work – I wanted to get home, but chose to remain calm and I offered to pay for her goods.  She accepted and then told me about her grandkids and started to cry.  I said to wait and I would pray for her.

She waited as I paid for my purchase and we stood to the side and prayed. She wept under the anointing.

She then started to pour her heart some more.  I wrote off the rest of the time I had and figured God would redeem the time and that she was far more important.  I suggested we have coffee (I knew I was getting my coffee at some stage).  I bought her a hot chocolate and listened while she told me her story in the middle of Myers.

I offered to pray some more.  She had arthritis – I held her hand, commanded the arthritis to go, and then felt to take her to her “God space”.

When she had located her God space she said God was “way up in Heaven” and she was “down here with me” (we were still sitting in Myer).  I said “ask Him to come closer”.  She did.  I asked her where He was.  She said on the couch opposite us. I said “do you want Him to come closer?” – she said “yes”.

I said “ask Him to come closer”; she did, and started to cry.  The anointing grew heavy.  I asked where He was and she said He was kneeling right in front of her and that He was saying that He had forgiven her.  I told her to tell Him what she wanted to tell Him – she wept and said sorry for being away from Him.

I then felt to say would you like to ask Him into your heart.  She said she had a long time ago, but I said do you want to ask Him again, afresh – she said “yes”.

She recommitted her life to Him and shook and wept as he started to heal her broken heart. The anointing was very strong and thick – it grew stronger and stronger each time she asked Him to come closer and closer –  I shook a bit and could feel Him all over us.  She could feel tingling on/in her hands.

We talked some more and she asked Holy Spirit to come and wash her clean, and back into her heart.

After she had recommitted her life to Jesus Christ I prayed and told the demonic to go and not come back, and for Holy Spirit to fill her completely up.  I also prayed an impartation of the gift of healing (she said she wanted it – her husband was in a wheel chair due to some condition).

I gave her my number.  We talked about church and about a seminar I was going to where Joshua Mills was talking – inviting her to come.  I told her how I had seen an arm growing out at a Joshua Mills seminar last year – she said her husband’s arm was shorter than the other (a coincidence? … no).  I said he could be healed and that it was worth coming.  She said she wanted to get back to church – I made some suggestions.

We talked a little longer and I walked her through the shopping centre to a point where I hugged and kissed her goodbye – telling her to call and how God loved her so much that He had sent someone to be there and to call her Home to Him.

Throughout the entire “encounter” she said people were watching us.  She said that there was a man during our coffee that looked just like a man from her past – a Christian that had cared for her when she had suffered from post natal depression after her first child, many years ago … I do not think that was a coincidence  either … God was so very on her case.

As we parted I told her she was an answer to my prayers – that the orphans would come home … and they are because …

God is Good!

Power of the prophetic word pushing through fear…God is Good!

There are times when we all doubt ourselves …

Did he really say that?  Was I on the money?  Oh, my gosh, I stuffed that one up!

All of us are on a journey of discovery … discovery of who we are, Whose we are, learning how to hear the Father’s voice …

The last story posted (the Sound of Healing) was a story of miraculous healing.  The healing occurred at a conference two years ago.  I had been invited to that conference to minister, as part of a team.  The first night had been challenging, for me.  I was stretched.  It was a worship rehearsal where we were called to minister to the worship team, give words of prophecy etc …

Now I had done this type of thing before … but each time I have to step out this way, particularly in a church, I get nervous … very nervous!

On this particular night I was tired, but I stepped into it, knowing God wanted the team touched more than I did, and I briskly told myself to get on with it!

I came to a man (who I later knew as G) who immediately seemed to me to be tired.  It was like he had lost hope.  I could tell he was a mature Christian, a seasoned Christian, and I knew he was a man of integrity and I felt he was battle weary.  I cannot remember the full extent of the word, but it was a word of a new season, that a new sound was coming.  That he had been a warrior and now the fight was over, that there was something new on the horizon …

Now, from my perspective he looked to me like he had “heard it all before” … and in response I felt like I had missed the mark … I tried to encourage him and said ‘you watch something new is coming … “ but as I did I felt a strong desire to retreat to run away … even to cry … I felt I had completely and utterly stuffed up, and that although it was an encouraging word, it had not been received well and was completely “off”…

I moved onto the next person to give the next word, trying to shake the feeling off, trying to gather my thoughts and step out again in trust that I would hear well … feeling a dismal failure, and a right goose!

The prophesying finished, and he walked up to stage to play.  I was relieved that the ministry time was over … and I felt the accusations come … the voice saying “you missed it … you can’t and don’t hear from God well … he knows you are no good at this … you might as well give up … who do you think you are anyway …”

I shrugged it off, and tried to press into God, knowing I had followed prophetic protocol and had kept the words that night encouraging.

Now, I tell this story because it was two years later that I “bumped into” this man and his wife (who was healed miraculously that weekend).  We were in the line for a ride at a theme park of all places!  We caught up for dinner that night and it was there that they told me that it was that word that I had given that night … that word that I had so doubted, that the man had held onto and taken home and it had been the catalyst for them to step out in faith and believe for his wife’s healing that weekend … I had no idea!

She wrote to me the following in an e-mail:

In regard to your prophetic word…. it was the Thursday night at the Creative Meeting when you all were praying and prophesying over the musicians that were going to be involved over the Wonders Conference weekend. You were praying over G and said to him that he had been a warrior, that he had gone through a great battle and that it was drawing to an end, that a new beginning was about to commence – the fight was over.  … you have no idea how excited G was when he came home that night after you prophesied those words over him.  I know that you wouldn’t have had a clue how significant your words were, or if they meant anything at all to G but ‘far out’ they were so spot on and you verbalised the very words of God Himself. The words God spoke through you were what began the faith growth in G, and then G speaking them to Pastor Mark, and then me – and the outcome of God healing me caused the biggest growth in faith in our church that continues to grow daily. It all began … with your prophetic word. (you may be blown away now and even cry a little because of how great God is, and all we have to do is make ourselves available and let God do the rest – let Him speak, let Him lead, let Him heal – all we have to do is be there).

She later wrote to me:

In response to your comments, you’re exactly right we all play our part, no one more important than the other. God orchestrates it all, brings us all together to play our part. There was your prophesy which got the ball rolling, advising G that it’s over – [that he’d] well and it’s time! G’s faith and obedience to talk to Mark and then to confess his faith in front of everyone on the Saturday afternoon session, then there was Pastor Mark’s faith, boldness and courage in obedience to take the whole church to the chicken line, then there was Fergus [the drummer on Saturday morning] who felt ‘oh my goodness! What am I doing!!’ There was Ally [worship leader, singer], who was obeying and worshiping and prophesying in song as God led her, then there was me and all I had to do was lay there, and my part wasn’t any more important than anyone else’s – we were all instruments in an incredible performance that God was putting on/performing!! Praise God!!! I get so excited talking/writing about it.  … you should definitely include your prophesy and how you felt and the actual impact of your word. … I really feel you need to write about it because there is so much for people to learn from your experience. You thought (felt condemned) that you had said something so far off base, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. I think G’s look probably came from sheer shock of how incredibly accurate you were, and maybe too, it was perhaps a little naivety on his part – this prophesying etc was all very new to him. 

And so I have written about my part to encourage others to step out and let God.  I am humbled by all that A writes and I feel privileged to be a small part of an unfurling of a healing miracle that sparked a bush fire of faith in their Church … and so, the reason I write is to show that He can use anyone at any time, that how we feel about our so called “performance” is not relevant … it is our heart attitude of doing our best and being available to Him that matters … for we don’t know the plans that He has for ourselves or for others, but we do know, without a doubt, that whatever His plans are, they are plans to bless us, to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11 NASB) and, I know this for sure: that if I can be used … then anyone can be used purely and simply because …

God IS Good!

God’s agenda is good…all the time because…God is Good!

I had dropped my 6 year old off at school and was headed home, when I had a fleeting thought that I should head straight up to Bunnings and buy the padlock that we needed for our new lane way gate.

“Odd” I thought, “I’m just around the corner from home” … and in my wisdom I kept driving towards home thinking I would pop back home first to collect a piece of plumbing pipe I had bought there the day before, which I needed to return … but as I checked my plan with God I sensed that “no, I was to go straight to Bunnings now” …

“Odd” I thought again and I drove straight past my home … figuring “what have I got to lose in listening and obeying as I go” … and I wondered who or what I would encounter at Bunnings when I got there …

I found a park, and headed straight into Bunnings, and as I did I saw a friend from church that worked there standing at the door giving directions to customers.  I smiled at P and said “Oh, you must be the reason I am here … a blessing for me to see you …” and I stood smiling at her as we had a brief chat before I headed off for my padlock purchase …

I found what I needed and as I headed to the check out to pay, P caught up to me and suggested I let her buy me a coffee …

I hesitated.  I had so much to do in the day.  I felt so ungracious … but I had an urgent case that I needed to attend to, workmen in my garden, a variety of jobs and a small amount of time to complete it all in … I was already behind my own agenda with this extra stop off for God …

She saw me hesitate and said “no pressure, I know you are so very busy …”

I smiled and said … “no, I’m just checking with the Holy Spirit to see what He says … I am very very busy, but He wants me to stop and have a coffee with you … so I will …thank you!” and I explained what I had on my plate and hence my hesitation, not wanting to offend or hurt her …

We chatted, and it was lovely … I felt blessed to stop for a moment and be with a friend …

With her break time up, we wandered back to the check out, me still to pay for my padlock and she walked back to her post at the door.  I stood and waited to pay for my purchase and as I did I looked at the woman serving me and knew I was to offer to pray …

I stopped after paying and said to her:

“This may sound strange, but I am a Christian and I have an overwhelming sense that I need to offer to pray for you … is there anything that I can pray for you for …?”

The woman looked at me, shook a little and teared up …

“Yes” she said … “there is something you can pray for me for … there is … but I …” and she trailed off …

I knew I was not to push for details, it was private and she was suddenly over whelmed …

I said “Its ok, no need to tell me, God knows the details I will bless you, He knows what you need … which is why He wanted me to ask you if you needed prayer … ”

She nodded and as she assented to me praying someone came up behind me to be served …

I stood back saying that I would wait … and as she finished serving that person … another one came for service … seemingly overlooking the other available checkout station … I stood and waited some more … and as she finished with that one … yet another came … and yet another again …

I stood waiting …

So often it  happens, I offer to pray and suddenly the check out isles  fill with customers … the teller is generally nervous with me waiting and so I know to wait looking relaxed, even if I don’t feel relaxed … and I tend to stand there feeling awkward … but I have learnt to be patient … that the time to pray will come, if I can stand my ground … and fulfil my assignment …

I quietly prayed for an opening, for the ebb of people to slow … and it came …

I walked back over, told her my name and she told me she was called “R”. I took her hand and I prayed.  I prayed a blessing, as I said I would, I prayed favour and I prayed wisdom in the pathways forward (I sensed she needed wisdom) … I prayed that God knew what her needs were and that He would meet them … and as I did, her eyes filled with tears …

There was no profound “knowing” or prophetic words that came to me that pierced her situation … just compassion that I had for her in whatever place she found herself in … she wished to remain private and I honoured that … as did God by not giving me any more insight than what I had, and I knew that me offering to pray, and her accepting the prayer, was enough for the Heavenly hosts to move on her behalf and release God’s goodness into her situation …

I finished, sensing I was to bless her with the Father’s blessing … I was to kiss her forehead … I told her that God was pleased with her, loved her, and she shook some more … and I asked if I could kiss her forehead …

She pulled back a little and shook her head, not daring to look at me, barely holding it together, and again I knew enough not to push  it … and instead I kissed my finger tips and gently placed them on her head and I thanked her for letting me pray.  As I walked away the  next customer came … and I saw her  wipe away some tears as she composed herself for the person she had to serve …

I walked past my friend P who could see what I was doing, who knew what I was doing … she had seen me do it before at Bunnings and in fact she has been doing this sort of thing for years in coffee shops and places she would visit …

I stopped by her side and suggested she watch out for R and we both looked over at R wiping away her tears …

I know that R is in good hands … P will watch out for her, as will God!

I left saying to God … “well that was an interesting morning … I saw a friend, had a tea, and had an encounter waiting for me …thank you” and I smiled at Him feeling my deep love for Him, and feeling His deep love for me … it had been a good morning …

I drove home knowing that had I rushed home instead of going to Bunnings for a padlock; had I not stopped for a cuppa I didn’t have time to stop for … I would have missed R, for she was not on the cashier when I was originally heading out … and P would have missed it to know to watch out for her …

I knew that had I not listened to God but listened to my own logic to collect the plumber’s piping that I needed to return that I may have been side tracked with workmen or other matters at home and I potentially would not have got up to Bunnings at all …

I knew that had I not stopped and listened to the fleeting idea; had I not recognised the fleeting idea as God’s idea, and not my own; had I not checked what God wanted me to do with my time that morning; had I not put my agenda on hold for God’s agenda … I would have definitely missed it … I would have missed seeing a friend, being blessed with a chat and a tea and I would have certainly missed being positioned to release God’s love into someone’s life …

Instead, I am so glad that I did listen, and through practice over time I have learnt to stop and check with God when such inconvenient or strange ideas pops into my head from seemingly nowhere … that sometimes those crazy ideas are not so crazy … but God ideas and that He is inviting us to co-labour with Him to work in the family business …

I have missed it so often … but through missing it and letting Holy Spirit speak to me in loving kindness, to teach and train me, I now miss less than I once did.  I had nothing to lose to follow the prompting I felt … and if I got it wrong, I knew my obedience would still please Him … My audience of One …  even if I was wrong I would have got the padlock that I needed.  So often He has us stop for the one as we go about our business … and because of this willingness to stop and to contemplate an idea that made no sense according to my agenda, I was given the privilege to pray for someone and to co-labour with the Creator of the Universe , and in so following God’s agenda rather than my own R now knows that God cares, God loves her and God is real … she had a real encounter to hold onto, she surely experienced a loving Father and this will show her that …

God is Good!

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