Stories of a good God

Archive for the ‘Soaking’ Category

Provision in the midst of the storm…

Our family has a new game. We place our name in a hat, and we pull one name out each week for the following weekend. That one person chooses a meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack) and an activity, during which all phones are away, and each person’s attention is complete.

We started playing this game in early April in Melbourne’s first lockdown. We have continued ever since.

Anything reasonable is fair game. Activities include the purchase of fresh croissants and large tubs of Nutella; roast dinners; magnum ice-cream tubs; crepes with cream and melted chocolate; French takeaway; movies; Greek food; homemade Devonshire tea; walks; cards; board games; movies and this last weekend, my weekend, I chose a beautiful cheese platter with a family soak…

For those unfamiliar with the concept of a ‘soak,’ the best way to describe it is a spiritual spa. We find a place to rest comfortably, with a pen and paper nearby, and we sit quietly at the feet of the Father, and when done we note down what we see, hear, feel, know, smell, taste, receive, etc.

I felt it would be good for us – we always come out refreshed, invigorated, loved, and encouraged… much like what a day spa does for you in the natural. It teaches us to ‘… be still and know that [He] is God’ (Psalm 46:10 NIV). After we chat, laugh and discuss what each saw, and discuss what it may mean, and how it might apply.

So after our cheese platter on Sunday afternoon, we settled ourselves, popped on some music, and we quietened ourselves from the world’s noise. We made ourselves available to hang out with God – mindfulness with a Christian edge.

I don’t normally share these processes, or what I see or do publicly, but on this occasion I felt the Father ask me to share some of what He showed me:

I saw a river of dark blue, troubled waters. The waves were rough. Overhead, the dark clouds swirled as I swam upstream. I noted the dark skies above, and as I did, I sensed a raft below.

© John Towner with thanks from Unsplash

I looked and saw I was on a tree branch raft, strapped together with ties. I continued up the river and noted skies of greater darkness. The waters rose, rougher than before. The raft was semi-submerged and as I crouched down upon it, I saw it had a mast, and out of the waters it came… a yacht.

The yacht I stood upon was small, but I knew to stand mid point, over the ballast. I thought of a word I had received several years past, telling me to stand on the ballast where I would be most steady, central and upright. I was near the mast, and as I raised the sail to continue my journey, the seas became rough and darker. The waves on the water grew. Heavy rains released as stormy clouds swirled above and lightening struck the mask. My yacht became a cruise liner.

I looked and saw I was on the liner as I continued my journey through the waves and the storm. The cruise liner was steady, able and strong. I looked ahead, knowing again the journey would require more.

As I knew this and looked once more, the liner became an icebreaker.  I saw the start of the ice. I knew we broke the ice and as we did, I danced on the deck with sheer joy.

I saw more for myself, but I felt to release the above publicly as a way of encouragement. There was joy at each stage of the storm. There was also a sense of surprise at each upgrade and each new provision for the journey at hand. I sensed that He said and is saying to us all:

… at each stage of the journey, no matter how rough the storm, or what gets thrown at you, I will provide you with whatever you need to get through the storm.

However, as I write, I sense the joy in the dance will be our choice…

Please note that I was aware of the storm, but just as I felt overwhelmed, the upgrade came, and with each upgrade of vessel, came an ease in travelling through the storm. There was delight and joy found in the provision and upgrade as I went.

Looking at the vision further, I note that I travelled upstream. Upstream is where the Temple of the Lord resides. See Ezekiel 47 for where the river flows from, and to… it starts at the Temple, so to head upstream is to travel towards Him…

Our determination to enter in brings Him joy…

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God … (Psalm 46:4 NIV)

And I sense Him say:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (John 11:28-30 NIV)

And so, in a way that is not characteristic of me, I release this to the Body of Christ as a way of encouragement. I share the vision, in transparency of process, because I know many people read the posts on God is Good to learn and to grow, and by sharing the process, you see some ‘how’.

I genuinely feel that we are all being encouraged to know that regardless of the roughness of the journey at hand, God will always provide just what we need to get through the storm. And as we see his provision we will dance in the storm and in doing so we will watch Him break open the frozen lands ahead because…

God is Good!

 

*If you want more on soaking use the soaking tab or search associated words on my blog and you will find further stories to equip and encourage you to step into greater intimacy with the Father. I believe that it delights the Father’s heart the most when we choose to be with Jesus, sit with Father, or just hang with Holy Spirit, with no hidden agendas, and it is in that place that you truly discover that God is indeed Good!

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!

 

 

“Give me an hour … it will be worth your time” … seeking first His Kingdom (Matt 6:33)…

… seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

The last week of the last school term was a very, very busy week.  My daughter was finishing at her school and, since it is important to honour those that sow into our children, I had a number of gifts to purchase to thank the various teachers … the class teacher, the music teacher, the art teacher, the extended maths teacher, the P.E. teacher, the principle, the office staff etc. Farewells were being said, new connections were being made at the new school and preparations were underway for my daughter’s 8th birthday party, scheduled for the first Saturday afternoon of holidays.  There was also the finalising of new uniforms, books, speaking with new teachers … life was busy …

In the middle of this week my daughter came home from swimming and announced that she did not know where her plate was (she has a plate to help realign her teeth).  We questioned her about it, and started looking all over the house, beginning with the most logical places to search and eventually looking in even the implausible places … including the dogs’ bed.

Over dinner, it was discussed how she had not taken her plate box to school and when questioned about what she did with it as she ate, she advised us that she had balanced it on her foot while she ate her lunch, and that perhaps it had fallen onto the ground … she could not remember.  After discussing this with her, and finding out that this was not the first time she had lost her plate (it had happened once before when it had been handed into the school office), we explained that we expected her to remember her plate box (with tears entailing) and that she needed to tell us if she needed help with setting up routines that assisted her in being responsible with this rather expensive, but necessary item. With the discussion ensuing, my husband went up to the school with a flash light to search for the plate in the school grounds … to no avail …

More tears ensued on his return and we explained that her second last day at school would need to be cut short in order to get to an appointment with the orthodontist, to have the plate replaced at a further cost of $450 … we all looked around the house again, and we prayed that the plate would miraculously turn up praying … “please do as you did for our camera God (an amazing story of restitution); please do as you did for Kitty Kat God (another amazing story of  restitution see  http://godisgoodforkids.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/god-cares-about-our-loveable-toys-and-his-children-too/  for the story and others on restitution on the God is Good for kids blog); and my daughter, red-eyed went to bed with another life lesson having been learnt …

The following day Thursday 22nd September was frantic.  We had an appointment that afternoon with the orthodontist, necessary since it took a week to get another plate made and fitted and we were due to leave for holidays in a week on Friday 30th September. We also had an appointment for her to have her eyes checked for new glasses, and the shopping to do to find appropriate gifts to say thank you to her various teachers, farewell gifts for the kids all decisions which she wanted to be involved in …

I dropped my 4-year-old off at kindy and thought that I had about one half to get a lot of other jobs done quickly, before I collected my daughter from school early, collected my son from kindy and took both children to the appointment … 

As I drove home, I could feel God calling on me to spend time with Him.  I “spoke back” saying … “but I have so much to do, I have to collect R early, get her to the orthodontist, get her to her eye appointment, and do all the shopping ready for the last day of school, and her birthday is in two days …”  I argued that I had not  been well for some time, and was finding it difficult to cope with it all, to keep all the balls in the air, and I felt guilty because I felt like His request was just another demand on my time and energy …. and still I felt Him calling to me …

He said: “have your lunch quietly with me and then sit and spend time with me … give Me an hour it will be worth your time …”

I “gave in”, a bit begrudgingly, but knowing that my attitude needed “adjusting” and I apologised to God.  I went straight home, made some lunch, put on some worship/soaking music by Isi de Gersigny, and sat down to spend an hour with Him …

I sat, I listened, I prayed as prompted and then lay back as I felt he wanted me to, in order to position myself to allow Him to just love on me.  I did not feel anything in particular but in faith I rested.  After some time I suddenly “saw” a picture of my daughters pink plate sitting on her pink and cream doona cover on her bed … I said to Him, “ok I will go up and take a look there, but you tell me when to go up the stairs to look … I will do this for You in faith …even though I feel a bit silly

I then soaked some more and when I felt God say “go now” I got up, went up our stairs to my daughter’s bedroom and looked on her bed, feeling a bit foolish …

I walked in and looked on the bed … it was not there. 

I pulled back the covers, I moved the pillows … it was not there. 

A bit disappointed, and knowing I needed to leave in about 10 minutes to collect her from school I thought I would recheck the pockets of the dressing gown and track suit pants that she had worn to swimming … it was not there either …

I turned from the cupboards feeling foolish … thinking that it was all my imagination, and I fought off the disappointment, reminding myself that God was good … when I glanced over at a large basket that doubles as a table top in my daughter’s bedroom, and by her night-light, there, as plain as day, was my daughters plate … 10 minutes before I had to leave to take her to get a new one refitted …

I gasped, barely believing what I saw and started to thank Him.  I spent the next 5 minutes or so repenting for my lack of faith, barely believing what had just happened and thanking Him for His kindness, thanking Him for His faithfulness … I then called my husband to ask him to cancel the orthodontist appointment …

As I told my husband the story he gasped … he said he had looked on that basket twice the night before … he swore it had not been there and I knew, had he looked there, which he said he had, he would have seen it there if it had been there … and yet it was so obviously there when I saw it …

God had said … “give me an hour, it will be worth your time” …

“seek first His kingdom … “ (Matthew 6:33)

It is a life scripture for me, I should have known better … the time was worth it … it always is!

An hour was redeemed in not having to race off to the orthodontist’s that afternoon; a further hour was saved for the follow-up appointment that had been booked in to take place prior to us going away (hence the rush for the fitting appointment); and, in that hour of time, He had saved us an outlay of another $450 … so, in fact, sitting with God had earned our family about $600 in “before tax dollars” … not a bad investment in time!

All in all it was an hour well spent … because, in addition, I got some time with my loving Father.  Before sitting down to be with Him, there was no thought of getting the plate back through doing what He said, whatever was going to happen, I had resolved to spend the time with Him … and regardless of the outcome I knew I would be refreshed, but in addition, time was redeemed, money was saved and my children saw their God come through for them and us as a family, again,  in yet another miraculous way because, as we all know …

God is good!

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