Fire burns all the time…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FIRE BURNS ALL THE TIME

I looked at her incredulously.

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

Fire burns all the time…

The blaze may not be discernible, but it burns.

It does not take much to fan into flame.

Perhaps you are feeling the same?

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

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

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

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

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

Fire burns all the time…

I believe 1 Samuel 3:3 holds one key.

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

(1 Sam 3:3)

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

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

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

Will we position ourselves to hear?

 

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

Fire burns all the time…

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

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

 

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

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

God is Good!

He sees the one

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

© Andrey Kremkov on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

Go to the service she would!

© Sincerely Media on unsplash

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

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

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

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

© Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash

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

Someone else closer would surely interrupt her…

An usher will surely come to her help…

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

My friend prayed someone closer would help.

Not a soul moved.

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

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

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

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

© Ben Eaton on Unsplash

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

God knew.

God had seen this woman.

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

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

God is Good!

Who are you walking with? The Hebrews 11:11 walk of faith – God is Good!

Last week while out walking with my husband, I was struck by how as a couple we walk in sync with one another, and when one or the other of us is slightly out of sync, we will adjust our walk to the one beside us. It makes the walk one of ease and comfort.

We were walking, holding hands, and we were slightly out of sync, which made our holding hands awkward, so I did a little hop, skip and jump, to come into sync with my husband’s stride, and our walk returned to one of ease.

As I did my little ‘dance’ and I felt a stirring from Jesus, my husband. He highlighted this little manoeuvre for me, and as He did, I glanced at my phone – it was 11:11… again.

11:11 means a few things to me.

A few years ago, when God was talking to me about the church needing to wake up, it was ‘Wakey Wakey time’ (thank you Beni Johnson circa 2009/10ish), which was a direct reference to Lazarus waking up (see John 11:11). For others, 11:11 may mean something else. But for me, in this moment, it meant the ‘walk of faith’ regarding Hebrews 11:11:

And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.

(Hebrews 11:11 NIV)

‘The walk of faith,’ I thought.

I looked at our legs walking in unison, my left leg striding out with his right leg, hands held swinging in time, my right leg then striding out with his left – they looked like the walk of 11:11.

Can you see it?

leg leg: leg leg

11:11

I know, it’s how my brain works, because you see, I see God talking to me. He talks to me through what I see, through patterns, numbers, strange happenings (remember Moses’ burning bush in my last post?). It’s not just what I hear or know or sense, I also see, and there are many ways to see…

It’s 4am in the morning here in Australia as I write. He asked me to get up and ask the following question. I suppose it is an important question to Him:

‘Who are you walking with?’

Andrew, my husband, was symbolic of Jesus. I need to be in an easy sync with Him – with Jesus by my side. I must adjust my stride to be by His side, at ease in my walk with Him…

BUT

I also need to be in an easy sync with my actual husband – my life running partner, I need to adjust my step to be with him, and sometimes he needs to adjust his step for me. He often complains that I run ahead too fast… 🙂

BUT

we all need community and singles (or married’s with unbelieving spouses) this then also covers you, as it does married couples (our spouse cannot be everything we need). We all need community. So I ask:

Who are you running with?

The answer is important, especially now, in this ‘Kairos’ time, in this time of challenge.

We are in a rapidly changing world, life (including church) is being shaken to its core, and who we associate with, who we hang out with, what we read, fill our minds with, who we allow to influence our growth forms us and so I ask again:

Who are you running with?

Whoever they are, I suggest at least three things are essential:

1. they will call out the gold in you, helping you brush away the dirt to uncover your essence, your true self. They will celebrate you and let you shine. They certainly will not try to make you a cardboard cutout of themselves. But, please also let them shine;

2. they are people you can lean in and run with, learn from, trust. They need to be encouraging you ‘to come a little higher.’ And, you may be that person for them too, for iron sharpens iron. But I suggest that at least a one or two have done a few more miles in an area where you need to grow. You may also encourage and help them grow too, but your community needs to include a few people who will stretch you, but always in kindness;

3. they are people you can sew into. I believe that we all need to be running with others that we encourage and call higher too. We all need to ‘pay it forward!’ This is how the Body grows, each encouraging the other to become fully alive to Him, Jesus Christ.

So, it’s time to find your tribe. It’s time for me to find my tribe. It’s time for us to find our tribe…

I think this is essential because it’s time for the meat. No more milk fed adults. Milk fed adults are not healthy adults. Kingdom rule requires Kingdom adults.

So, it’s time to grow up!

God wants mature kids because…

God is Good!

I’d love to know what you are doing to find this sort of community, a community that inspires you to grow.

Have you found people who honour you, who see you, yet who call you higher?

Or, are you facilitating groups online or locally to help others grow into who they truly are? If so, let us know what that looks like – it won’t always look the same, but it would be interesting to hear other people’s journey.