Some need renovation; others deconstruction. Some are renovating; while many are consumed with the build.
Yet others, the quiet ones with no meeting place of sorts, know it is time to meet at Water’s edge for it is there that ancient pathways head towards Fresh Wine.
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.
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.
‘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.
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…
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!
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…
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.
‘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…
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
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?
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.
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.
I was dripping as I stood in line waiting to purchase our Splash Mountain family action photo … I had been nominated front seat person in the wet but fun ride at Disneyland … and I looked like a drowned rat!
As I waited for the photo I “heard” the word “sweetness” and I knew it was for the girl serving me at the counter.
I got to the counter and quickly said “hello”, explained that I was a Christian and asked if I could pray for her … She agreed introducing herself as “M”. I in turn introduced myself.
I took her hand and said I felt she was really sweet. In fact, that there was a real sweetness about her, that the word I had “heard” for her was “sweetness“.
I said I felt that she had been hurt due to that sweetness and I prayed for a healing of those hurts.
I then felt that God wanted her destiny opened and I looked at her, explaining that I felt she had not yet discovered what she really wanted to do, what her passion was. She agreed that this was the case, and so I declared her destiny open and prophesied that this next season would be a season in which she would find what it was that she was really passionate about, after which I encouraged her that when she found it, which she would in this next season, she should step into it, even though it may take great courage for her to do so …
I smiled, and thanked her for letting me pray … again saying what a beautiful sweetness she had about her and that I could see how beautiful and sweet she was, that God made her that way and that it was not a weakness but something lovely … a strength.
She looked and thanked me saying “you have no idea how much I needed to hear that!”
I smiled wanting very much to give her cuddle and a kiss … I told her so … Saying how I could see what a beautiful girl she was … but that I was bedraggled and dripping wet …
I know she needed to hear how she was sweet and that it was ok to be sweet …
I know that she needed to know that although she did not know what her passion was that she would find it soon and to look for it …
I know she needed a touch from God, because He had asked me to pray for her, and He did so in order for His will to be released on this Earth in her life because He loved her so …
And I know this purely and simply because …
God is Good!
This is a testimony forwarded to me from a friend in Tasmania. I am leaving it in it’s entirety … written as she has written it. It is precedent for healing … and many have been healed by reading, and or by listening to the pod cast … enjoy … and if you need healing … take it as precedent and say “Do it again God” … and He will because … God is Good!
Psalm 107:2 ‘Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story…’ (NIV)
Psalm 107:1,2 ‘Oh, thank God – He’s so good! His love never runs out. All of you set free by God, tell the world! Tell how He freed you….’ (MSG)
God has freed me!!! Freed me from an illness where there was no cure, no answers, all avenues exhausted with no help to be found. God is so good!!
When I fell sick in Jan 2007 I was 39yrs old, married to a wonderful husband with two beautiful sons who were 12 and 14. Life was good, I worked full time, was active in our church, I had a close relationship with God, was fit – running two or three times a week, swam, played basketball, volleyball and any sport that came my way. As a family we regularly took holidays together and would go camping, bushwalking, water skiing, swimming and fishing. Life was good.
Then, out of the blue I got very, very sick. I sought out my local doctor who prescribed numerous courses of antibiotics, underwent various tests which turned out to be detrimental to my health which caused my health to be further weakened. I was finally diagnosed with having mycoplasma pneumonia along with glandular fever which led to an extremely weak immune system that then developed into an acute and severe case of post viral chronic fatigue. In addition to this, I also picked up a muscular condition called fibromyalgia.
Over the years my husband and friends taxied me around to various doctor’s appointments, medical tests, naturopaths, alternative doctors, health retreats etc. I tried all kinds of treatments in search of a cure: pain killers, antidepressants, magnets, naturopath concoctions, intense vitamin supplements, detox treatments, diets, massage, acupuncture, I even had my two amalgam fillings removed – I tried everything with no success and often the treatments made me worse, and on two occasions the treatments were so harmful to my health that my husband thought he was going to lose me.
This journey went on for five and half years and was the worst and hardest years of our lives but regardless, my relationship with God not only remained close but grew stronger and stronger. I’m not saying that I didn’t experience ‘down times’, I most certainly did, and for a period of time I did suffer from depression but I knew that God would one day heal me. So I remained hopeful and optimistic and had an inner strength that of course came from the Lord. God, on a very regular basis communicated to me through His word, through people, through visions and through His audible voice that He had everything under control and that the days were numbered for this illness and they would not last one day longer than He ordained. I was to wait, wait and be patient, trust in Him – so I did, I surrendered myself and my body to His will.
For the past 16 years my family and I attended Gateway Church in Devonport, Tasmania. Our church in August 2012 was hosting a Wonders Conference, a Conference where we invite God to display His miracles and wonders, and wow, did God show up! The conference ran from Thursday to Sunday morning. On the Thursday night my husband went to the meeting and was prayed for and prophesied over that there is a new beginning about to start, you’ve been a warrior and now the fight is over. He came home so excited. So off we all went to the Friday night meeting and I was especially believing that tonight was the night that I was going to be healed. I remember praying, just before we left home, ‘I give myself to you God, I surrender myself to you. I am ready to be healed – let your will be done in my life, I don’t want to be anywhere else but in the center of your will.’
When the alter call came, up I went, ready to be healed. A lady started praying for me, then she stopped and said, ‘God wants you to know how much He loves you.’ Ok. I told her that I knew God loved me and I told her a little of my story and said that I want to be healed. She continued praying then stopped and said, ‘God wants you to know just how much He loves you, like your first love – He loves you so, so much.’ The tears then just overflowed, I knew God loved me, I couldn’t have survived these past five and a half years without Him loving me so much and holding onto me so tightly. I went home not disappointed but confused, but then I felt God remind me ‘you wanted my will didn’t you?’ I absolutely did.
Most of the days while I was sick I was restricted to either my bed or the couch, I was most certainly house bound. For most of that time I couldn’t drive and when I did go out I paid for it dearly. Depending on what I did and how long or exhausting the outing was, was how long I suffered for it. Some outings could take days or even weeks to recover from and if I was really unlucky I would pick up some bug or virus going around, because of my weakened immune system, and then the recovery could even take months.
So, Saturday, after going out Friday night to the meeting, was a bad, bad day, spending the majority of the day in bed dosed high on pain killers. There was no way I could possibly get to another session. My husband spent all of Saturday at the conference and God revealed to him that all you have to do is get your wife to church just like the people in the New Testament did when they lowered their sick friend through the roof of the house where Jesus was preaching. He talked to our pastor and asked him, if he could arrange a time for the visiting team to pray for me after the morning service in one of the side rooms. Our pastor’s face lit up on hearing this and agreed that this could be arranged.
My husband played drums for that Sunday morning service and as soon as the worship finished (with my husband still seated behind the drums) our pastor got on stage and announced that we were believing for a miraculous healing this morning and ‘G, it’s time to go get your wife and bring her in’, Well, that did it! My husband was so excited, ‘this is it, it is going to happen!’ He messaged my youngest son (who by now was 17yrs) ‘I’m coming to pick up mum for church to be prayed for, can you wake her up.’ When he got home I was up and dressed but not really with it. I was in zombie mode as my mind and body weren’t really communicating or working well together, I didn’t even have the energy to speak. When my husband asked if I was ok all I could do was nod or give him the thumbs up signal. He said that trying to get me in the car was like trying to push a bean bag onto the seat, and I was only a little girl. I wanted to go and be prayed for but was sceptical of the timing, thinking that if it was my time to be healed God would’ve healed me Friday night.
I remember the car ride over and thinking, when we travel this road to come back home I’m either going to be healed or I’m going to be feeling even worse than I do now and will probably crawl back into bed and be bedridden for days. My husband’s mind was on a totally different wave length, because of the public announcement our pastor had made previously that morning, he knew that me being prayed for was going to be a public witness instead of a quiet, private event that he had led me to believe, and he wasn’t sure if or how I would handle this situation. He knew for a fact that I would strongly oppose such a spectacle because of how I was feeling and also being so much out of my character and my comfort zone.
So, we arrived at church, we quietly sneaked in the doors while the sermon was drawing to an end. I noticed people spotting us and then nudging others to look around and take notice but thought nothing of it, I didn’t have the energy to worry about what was going on. Then, our pastor from the stage calls out my name – I froze, goose bumps all over my body, and says, ‘can you and your husband come up on stage.’ He shared with the congregation a little about my story and how faithful I was and then asked me if I could pray for the church, just as Job prayed for his friends, and that when Job prayed for his friends he himself was healed, and so too would my prayer for the congregation bounce back tenfold on to me.
Pray for the church!! Me? In front of 500 people, pray out loud, when I can’t even put two words together this morning!! He handed me the microphone, and to this day I remember silently pleading ‘God, help me!’ God, to that moment, had never, ever let me down, and He wasn’t about to start. Shaking and with tears streaming down my face, God filled me with an incredible prayer for the congregation, a prayer that I could never in a million years come up with even if I’d had months to prepare, and apparently it was all spot on to what the topic had been on in the sermon that very morning (which I had missed). God is amazingly good!
Then, our pastor explained that the drummer who had now been ‘tagged in’ while my husband came to collect me, had a ‘word’ given to him that sometime over this conference weekend, while he was playing, someone was going to be healed. So our pastor asked him to start playing and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. Well, off he went (let me add that he is an incredible drummer). As the drummer was getting ready to start, the worship leader asked me to lay on the floor in front of the drums. At this point it didn’t faze me at all and I was more than happy too. So, here we are… little old me, quiet, not a ‘look-at-me’ person at all, laying on the floor, in front of the drums, on a stage, in front of 500 witnesses – God has such a sense of humour. I wasn’t aware at the time but found out later that while I was laying on the stage many of the congregation came forward, praying for me with their hands reached out towards me and towards heaven. While the ‘face melting’ drum solo was going on I felt incredible joy, I felt the Holy Spirit’s presence in and around me. At one point I felt like I couldn’t breathe, just couldn’t get a lung full of air at all and was kind of gasping, but then all of sudden I was able to take a huge breath and as I breathed out I felt the illness leave me.
When the drumming ceased I had to get the people who were around me to help me up (a bit embarrassing) and then they asked me how I felt and what had just happened. I silently prayed that God would help me say only what had happened, that I would be honest and not just say what I thought people wanted to hear. I reported that ‘I felt something happen, couldn’t really explain what but felt that God had healed me even though I was still feeling so weak’.
From the very moment I walked off the stage to this day, I have progressively got stronger and stronger. As we drove home I could feel energy returning back into my body. I am healed!!! At this point in time, almost 15 months after my healing, I have just completed a 10km fun run, 15 months ago I couldn’t even walk around the outside of my house! God is so good!! The worship leader that Sunday morning gave me a verse, Isaiah 40:31 ‘…strength will rise as you wait upon the Lord.’ That has been so true, and my strength continues to rise.
Refer to Podcasts:
Gateway Church Devonport, Tasmania, Australia Ps Mark von Blankensee, Aug 16 , 2012 – Wonders Conference Session Five – 53min in (but listen to the whole service)
Gateway Church Devonport, Ps Mark von Blankensee, Aug 26, 2012 – Celebration Sunday – begin 54min in – Testimony of myself, my husband, one of our pastors and the drummer.