Heart matters

the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. (Rev 5:8 NIV)

I love the smell of fresh soil.

If you’re a gardener, there are certain smells that bring delight to your heart. Fragrant foliage: rosemary, basil, mint, thyme to name a few. Fragrant flowers: gardenia, daphne, magnolia, lemon, fragrant roses, lily-of-the-valley…

Then there are the fragrances that may make a gardener’s heart sing, yet leave the average ‘Joe Blow’ cold. These fragrances include freshly disturbed soil as an old tree pulls up by the roots (such as I walked past last week); a freshly weeded and watered garden; and even the freshly fertilised garden, not because I love the smell of manure, but because I know what fertilisation will bring in due time.

Such too is the Father’s heart. Or so I think…

Fragrance of our delight in Him, of our worship, of our obedience… even the fragrance of us just sitting with Him, and loving on Him. That delights the Father’s heart.

There is a fragrance of intercession that ascends to Him when it’s empowered with a heart of love. Even the simple act of a random kindness motivated from a place of compassion will release Heaven’s scent into a thirsty world.

A beautiful woman in my life group shared a vision that she had in a time of soaking. She came home, despondent after having been told at her church that they would not perform certain songs from other particular churches because they did not agree with the churches involved. This grieved her heart. She felt a great disappointment at the slander and the unkind words said about other ministries and churches. With this sadness heavy on her heart she went home, went to bed to soak, asking God ‘where are you for me in this situation?’

In this soak she went on a glorious trip and saw various churches around the world: Greek Orthodox, Anglican, Charismatic… and so the list went on. As she visited each church around the globe, she heard the Father speak to her heart on the matter.

I encourage you to listen to her words here it runs 2.24 min:

Heart in worship releases a fragrance that delights the Lord

Carol’s testimony 22nd April 2021

I know I want my worship to be a sweet fragrance.

The form of worship is not the issue, rather it is a matter of the heart.

For you see…

Heart matters…

Heart worship, true heart intercession, fills the bowls in the Temple with fragrance. In due time God will pour the fragrances back out upon the world. A fragrant Love so magnificent, so bold, so great that none will be able to contain. A Love poured straight from God’s heart to His people, for His Creation for His world.

To see that God is good – that is the answer. None of us have the right way. None of us have the only way. The Gnostics held the belief that theirs was the only way… modern gnosticism is sadly all too common today…

Instead, like a beautiful Father, He delights in the one whose heart is set on Him. The rest falls into place. If we will just fix our eyes on Jesus, instead of on each other, and then the world will taste and see that…

God is Good!

©Beth Kennedy 2021

And they saw as the Father saw because God is Good!

So we’ve been learning in our group called Sitting at the feet of the Father that first our identity comes from God, and from that place all life flows.  We learn (and practice) how to sit and be with the Father, and in that place we learn how much we are loved, that we are created for greatness, and from the place of identity in God we then live out the reality of that relationship.  That means many things.  One of the things it means is that our heart starts to beat in time with the Kingdom of Heaven – we see others around us, and as we become more bold, and skilled up at how to communicate with others, we respond to His heart for them, and we desire to hear His heart and step out to give it a go.

Well a couple of the group have been stepping out …

One feisty group member was at Chadstone shopping centre. When she was first saved she used to step out all the time, but she was considered odd, she was ostracised.  Sad really, given that she was walking in the footsteps of Jesus.  Now, some 20 years later, she felt she had lost her mojo … or so she thought.

Well, she was having a quick snack in the food hall while a man with a badly disfigured body and facial features was trying to eat a hamburger.  She could not stop looking at him, and said that to be honest she was somewhat repulsed by how he looked, but even so she could not stop looking at him.  She then watched as he tried to eat his hamburger and felt God tell her to pray for him.  She argued, but eventually, deciding that the disfigurement must have been due to some illness, she obeyed.

She went over, said hello and asked if she could pray for him.  He agreed, explaining that he had a condition that is in the natural incurable called scleroderma, but he said she could pray for me.  She told him that God heals, that God loved him, and wanted him well, and she prayed for him.  Her sense of repulsion left, and she saw him as God saw him, as the compassion came upon her.

Later that day, she texted me:

Thanks for encouragement today… made me think of that girl you showed us on video that was quite ‘difficult’ to look at [see link here she’s amazing!]. This guy today was similar- took me awhile to realise he had some major disease/problem … The images of scleroderma are disgusting ( looked it up when I got home) his was obviously severe bad teeth and gums sunken eyes gangrenous fingers that couldn’t open. His name was Wayne if u feel to pray for him. I’ve read lots of prophecies about the first fruits of revival being the unlovely and unwanted….  Thank goodness God doesn’t give up on any of us.  

She caught the wind of the Holy Spirit and prayed … and is still praying for Wayne!

A second person from the group said that he had been out at Nandos.  He was tired, and wanted to get home.  He said he was just “people watching” as he waited for his meal.  He is a quiet, gentle, kind reserved man who loves Jesus and has a heart for others.  He is also a mighty man in the Spirit, but he is only just starting to capture that truth :-).   He said that he was just standing there at Nandos when a couple walked into the store and it was like everything went dark and a spot light was shone on the girl.  God clearly said “pray for her” and our friend hesitated, fearing that he was an older man and it would be creepy of him to approach a young girl with her boyfriend … so he didn’t …

I call that a WIN!

He heard, he saw, he just had not been given the skill set to give it a go, so I explained how he, as a man, could manage that situation better, and he happily saw there was a way forward next time.  That was my failure as a teacher, as the group leader, that I had not skilled him in how to stop and talk to a complete stranger.  The mere act he was even contemplating it I think is fantastic, amazing and so very encouraging!

While he felt badly about the “miss” I still said it was a win!  And a group of us at church prayed for the girl who was called Belle (he heard her name called out) and we asked that God would please send another.  I said to our friend that half the battle was to get people to see beyond their own needs and see the world through the lens of Jesus, see the need, and then learn how to step out … but I also explained that it takes practise, just as learning to ride a bike takes practise.

Every attempt is a win.  Noticing one that God highlights is a win. Learning to hear and to acknowledge God’s prompting for people is a win.

While I have prayed for thousands over the years, there are so many I have missed.  Many that were highlighted that I did not stop for.  In those times, God did not condemn.  There were times I felt His intense sadness when I didn’t stop, but He never condemned me, and I have learnt.

God is a loving Father and He delights that we try, that we listen … hearing Him is a step in the right direction, being aware of others and God’s heart for them is a step in the right direction, seeing and judging but still being open to pray for the one is a step in the right direction … and then later being so full of compassion as the judgement falls away that you then ask others to keep praying for the one, is a step in the right direction … every step forward into listening and obeying is a step in the right direction.  If we keep listening, keep spending time with Him, keep learning, keep humble and keep pressing into Him, we will reach the world, one encounter at a time because …

God is Good!

So, when have you felt His heart to stop for the one?

How was that for you?

Did you stop and try?

Or were you a little overwhelmed?

Either way – it’s a win … and we get better at this as we keep listening and keep being willing to “give it a go” because God is Good!