Reaching into an empty barrel only to find more than enough

Sometimes we have nothing left in the tank. The sense of tiredness is real. Self care is essential, so as you read, balance the message with permission to rest.

We reach into the empty barrel believing we have nothing to give; only to find an abundant flow.

I was at kindy pick up for my 3-year-old son when I saw a mum who I had prayed for previously at a play date. She had asked why I was fasting. I explained Australia was in revival and a mighty move of God was afoot across our wonderful nation. As we spoke, she shared some of her private and very painful history, after which I prayed for her. While I prayed, she felt electricity running up her arms, and she cried, feeling His presence course through her body. She had encountered a good and loving God.

On this day, she looked tired. I asked her about this, and the tears flowed. I gently placed my hand on her shoulder and prayed, releasing peace and rest. She reported her sleep was ok, but she was not feeling refreshed from her sleep. I prayed again, asking that one hour of sleep would be as four. I hugged her, nearly crying myself, and said to call if she wanted prayer again.

With said 3-year-old in tow, I planned to head home. Instead, I ‘knew’ I needed to go to a local shopping district. It was close to Christmas, so shopping was not what I felt like doing. However, hearing the nudge, I headed to the store I felt compelled to visit.

Uncertain why I was there, I looked. Feeling exhausted, I did not believe I had anything to give.

My barrel was empty.

Wandering about, I feigned interest. I noticed a woman with a brace on her wrist.

‘Person found,’ I thought.

I approached her and asked about the brace.

She had torn tendons in her wrist and thumb, so I offered to pray. She agreed and as I prayed she felt tingles, which continued long after I finished and she completed her shopping.

I turned towards God once more, knowing I had not completed the task. I felt tired, so I argued a little, but ultimately decided I would stay.

I could not shake the feeling I had not found who or what I was there for.

A woman had watched me closely as I prayed. I was aware of her, but I had ignored the feeling. I felt her watching me again and wondered if she was stalking me through the store.

 

Crossing her path, I smiled and turned to pass politely, but she suddenly stepped forward to speak.

Earnestly she said she felt stressed. She explained the stress was because she was hosting her son’s wedding reception at her home, followed closely by Christmas.

I agreed that would be stressful.

‘Thank you,’ she said.

The exchange puzzled me. Perhaps she needed to be seen.

I wandered on with my son, but there she was again…

I was sure she was intentionally placing herself in my path.

She engaged me in further conversation.

Tired, I did not want to chat. Small talk is a gift, a gift I do not posses. I have to work at it.

I stopped the sour grapes and simply threw caution to the wind. I offered to pray.

Excited, she readily agreed. She said she saw me on the other side of the store, praying for the other woman.

‘Ah, she had been watching me,’ I thought, ‘and she wanted prayer.’

Her name was Joy, so I prayed for Joy. I prayed for Joy to be released into her destiny; for joy (the Spirit of Joy) to come upon and within her; for Joy to receive ‘joy’; and for Joy to be Joy and all that entailed. In fact, it was the season for JOY!

I also prayed for the other circumstances she had shared.

As I prayed, I looked at her.

‘You can feel that, can’t you?’

She nodded, close to tears.

When I finished, she stared at me and asked if I knew some Christians on her street in a nearby suburb.

‘Oh no, here we go,’ I thought, but then she told me their names.

They were my pastors!

She said I was just like them – she told me she had been watching them.

‘… and now she had been watching me too,’ I thought wryly.

It was clear in that moment God was on her case. It was not a coincidence I was in that store. I was there for no apparent reason other than a hunch. My pastors’ witness impacted her. She was the one God had set His heart upon and sent me. She had a hunger to encounter the God my pastors knew; the God I knew; the God she wanted to know too- the one we all called ‘Lord,’ the one we all called Jesus.

I was there for her!

I explained I had not known why I had come to the shop. Yet, it was now apparent to me I had come for her.

It was apparent that God was on her case.

I wished her well and finished up in the shop.

My barrel was empty today-but God.

Life is busy at Christmas time. Children are excited, their behaviour can challenge. People make demands; others can be unkind. We can feel our barrel is empty and we have nothing to give.

However, God’s barrel is never empty. Despite me and my circumstances, as I reached into my empty barrel, God came through and touched three women – all in the space of an hour. Each woman needed a touch of God; all for different reasons.

As long as I will stop for the one, regardless of how I feel, regardless of me, my God will move to touch a hurting world.

Today I saw His arm long enough to embrace others through me; His grace sufficient for my needs to be met and His desires fulfilled. My barrel may feel dry, but His barrel is always full – His power is ever present.

Despite me, wine will always flow.

Since this day I have discovered people are watching. I know if they watch for long enough I will disappoint them because I am mere human; but if they will see through me to Him… that will not disappoint.

I have prayed for many who have yearned for a touch from God. There have been many such occasions. In my daughter’s school, a young teacher cried when I offered to pray. She explained she had been waiting, hoping for prayer. This shocked me, because I always felt so awkward in offering. But here was a woman desperate for the moment God saw her heart’s cry. Through her tears she said she thought she was going to miss out; I assured her God saw and loved her- she would never miss out.

We may think we are at the bottom of our barrel, there is nothing more to give. But, in the empty barrel, there is always more.

Wine will flow regardless of me because…

God is Good!

 

Pulling back; stepping through… God is Good!

Collecting my 5-year-old son from kindy, I felt to pop up to the local shopping centre for a coffee and a donut. A regular ‘treat’ for the two of us.

I had thought we were heading straight home. I was feeling tired, but sensing the prompting of God to go to the shops, I asked my son,

‘Do you get Southland or home? Ask God.’

My son, knowing how to ‘play the game,’ piped up from the back seat, ‘Southland.’

Continuing the ‘game’ I said, ‘do you get DJ’s or M?’

I was sensing to park at the Myer end of the shopping complex.

He instantly responded, ‘M! What does that mean, Mum?’

I steered the car toward Southland and explained where we were going and what “M” meant.

We found a carpark, and I quietly hoped the trip was just a ‘treat’ for the two of us, rather than an ‘assignment’, but as we walked into the centre, I saw a man in a wheelchair and felt a familiar prompting from God.

I ignored it.

I know, but I am being honest here!

I told you I will share the good, the bad and the ugly. Being human, I falter. I simply did not want to stop for anyone. I just wanted a treat with my boy.

I had been told the day before that I was ‘stressed.’ My doctor must know, right?

Pathetic reasoning, but I am being honest.

I walked on, ignoring the wheelchair; ignoring the knowing; ignoring the invitation.

Feeling sad, I apologised to God.

He loved me all the same, regardless of my ‘performance.’ Knowing this, I still felt sad at my response. There was no self-condemnation (not for long anyway) but there was a sense of deep sadness. There was God’s sadness and my sadness intermingled. I spoke to myself, bringing to mind my own testimonies of a good God who had seen me through time and time again when I had stopped for the one, yet I just did not want to risk failure and stop for the one yet again.

Regardless of my choices, my son and I thoroughly enjoyed our time together.

On our way out of the centre, we walked past another wheelchair. Well, it was not a ‘wheelchair’

per se, it was a person in a wheelchair. It was a person loved and seen by a good God. It’s important to remember they too are people He wants to touch. If only He can get through us!

I noted the gentle prompting as I walked past.

My little boy looked up at me and said quietly: ‘there’s a wheelchair mummy’.

From the mouths of babes!

I looked at him and said, ‘should we pray for him? You ask God.’

My boy got a ‘no’ but I looked back at the man and knew. I knew my boy knew too.

‘Come on,’ I said.

We approached the man, said ‘hello’, and I explained what had happened. I added the testimony of the broken legs being healed, and I asked if I could pray for him.

‘You’ll have to be quick because my wife is in the toilets,’ he responded.

With that I introduced us and asked what the problem was.

His name was Dave.

He had muscular dystrophy.

‘Incurable,’ he said.

‘But for a miracle,’ I said, ‘so we will pray for a miracle!’

I held his hand and prayed, feeling the anointing flow.

A few moments passed, and as I felt the release I finished and I repeated the testimony of little A’s healing, explaining that her healing came over two weeks.

I thanked him for allowing me to pray, and he thanked me and as I turned and walked away with my son.

As soon as I turned, I faced another wheelchair!

My boy looked and said ‘maybe we should pray for him too!’

‘Maybe we should,’ I thought.

I wish I could say I did.

I didn’t.

Sometimes it can be all too much.

In those times, we push back at the resistance to walk through to the Promise.

 

These are the times we feel we have nothing to give – BUT GOD!

(See When my barrel was empty… then God for such a story).

There were many invitations on this day.

I answered just once.

I look back and recognise it was an invitation into an upgrade…

We are always free to choose.

A friend said to me later that day,

‘We are not Jesus, we are being transformed.’

I agreed.

She followed up with, ‘That, of course, does not excuse us from not walking as Jesus did.’

And with that, she had called me to the standard.

She was calling me to be who I am in Christ.

Yes, we are all human – we are not Jesus. Yet, we are all called to be like Him, to believe Him when he says:

“I tell you the truth anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12) (emphasis added)

 

I believe God invites us into encounters. God invites us to co-labour with Him to achieve His purposes, for the world, for others, for the one, but also for us.

Every time we say ‘yes,’ He celebrates.

I feel the Father’s joy every time I say ‘yes,’ but His joy is not about our obedience. We are not automaton. His joy flows every time we say ‘yes Lord’ because we step more deeply into our identity in Him when we do.

It’s a ‘win-win.’

The world gets touched; we get transformed!

He loves us, regardless of whether we say ‘yes Lord.’

However, we will feel the Father’s delight when we choose to step in, up, and out. As we do, we reach further into the promises of God for our own life, and for the lives of those around us. When we co-labour with Him, we are connecting with a Father’s loving heart, for us and for the one we stop for. That heart is full of splendour and glory simply because…

God is Good!

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!

Stepping out in lockdown – God is Good!

Recently, as lockdown in Melbourne, Australia lifted somewhat, I headed out to my favourite organic store. I have known the current owners for 10 years or more.

A few years ago, one owner told me she had received a diagnosis of kidney cancer, and was all clear. She had then regained her vitality with the help of a naturopath – a practitioner she was recommending to me.

Recently, while at the store, we exchanged our usual pleasantries, and I mentioned the naturopath, saying I had referred my niece to her. She told me she had not seen her naturopath for some time, but she said she needed to go back since she felt that the cancer had returned – she was having some pain and other urinary tract issues.

I asked her about her urologist. It turned out that she was seeing the same one my mother had been seeing two years ago. That specialist did not seem to have the answers for my mother’s many complicated and life-threatening issues, so I T whether she was happy with the specialist. She said ‘no’, so I told how we had been fortunate enough to find another for my mother, by ‘chance’ who, while wanting in her bedside manner, was excellent, and was the only expert who had worked out my mother’s many issues. She had got my mother well and functional at 88, after 15 months of repeated hospital visits.

T asked me for the specialist details, and I then asked her if I could pray. She said ‘absolutely,’ so I said I would stand behind her, and I asked if she was ok with it. I told her I would place my hand on her lower back, while keeping at a distance. Note: it is still a requirement we keep 1.5m distance by law here in Melbourne, and sadly, restrictions have toughened up again because of hot spots breaking out as I write.

I stepped behind T. I placed my hand on her lower back, and I prayed. I commanded healing to come, peace to come, the oil of the Holy Spirit to flow – whatever came to mind as I listened to God’s prompting. She stood calmly, but it moved her. She teared up. She was visibly shaken. I desperately wanted to hug her. I told her I wanted to give her a cuddle. She felt God’s Presence. I released His love on her back and He reached into her heart.

Yes, through me, He releases His love. Does this make me a better, more holy, somehow stronger Christian? No, sadly no! It makes Him amazing that He can use anyone, including me, even when I feel weak (and I was feeling depleted and weak on that day). I’m still in awe that He will flow through me. Actually, I’m like an excited child every time He moves like this through me. I am amazed that the God who created the universe lives in me, and will flow through little me!

I must admit, the hardest thing about praying for owners of shops, or service people in stores, is that people are constantly walking around the store, and often customers suddenly appear, out of nowhere, and need or want service. As soon as I started praying, a customer walked to the counter and stood watching us. I felt awkward. No matter how many times I have done this, I still feel awkward. It’s inconvenient, it’s uncomfortable, but Jesus never promised us comfort, he just said ‘follow me’ and He goes about doing His Father’s business.

Is it easy?

Yes, actually it IS easy.

Is it convenient?

Rarely!

And so, I ask you, as you walk through your day, who can you reach out and ‘touch’ with His love. Who is He prompting you to stop for and reach out to?

Is stopping and praying for someone, like I have here, too much for you?

If ‘yes’ then ask God to bring to mind someone you can just send out a card to; send a text to; call up and arrange a zoom cuppa with; or go for a walk with? Stop and ask:

‘God, who would you like me to encourage today?’

I know He will give you a name or a face. Someone will come to mind. He wants you to hear for them more than you want to hear for them. And, when you get that prompt, I encourage you with all my heart, to step out and just say “hey, how are you doing?” Alternatively, send them a card, send them a text, suggest a walk, even just pray for them in the privacy of your home, and together, we will extend the Kingdom of Heaven.

I know He will move on your behalf as you step out in obedience.

He will delight in you, and He will touch them for His name’s sake.

I know this 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!

And he would love again because God is Good!

I wrote this testimony up a few years ago, but I never published it.  I feel it’s time to publish it now, so that it may serve as encouragement to those who are journeying something similar, to those that need to know that they are worthy of love, and of loving again, and for those too that need to know that their prayers matter because God is Good!

There is a local fruit and vegetable shop in my suburb. The staff are friendly, they stop and say “hi”.  It’s my local community, part of “my turf”.  There have been a number of prayer assignments there over the years, and the most recent one was just last Friday …

A couple of years ago, the manager of this store helped me out and was exceptionally kind.  He is that sort of bloke … a beautiful example of an ordinary person being kind to another human being!   A little while later he saw me in the store and asked how I was doing.  I said great compared to where I had been, thanks to people like him around me.  I then got on to ask him how he was doing …

He looked and opened up his heart to me.  He had just journeyed through a divorce he said.  She had been his best friend.  There were no children from the relationship, which he felt was a blessing.  He still hurt.  He looked ready to cry.

I wasn’t too sure what to say at the time, but he said passionately that he never wanted to go through loving another person again.  He said he would never marry again – it hurt too much when it fell apart. Everything about me went on alert … he was cursing himself out of the place of his extreme pain.   looked at him and said quietly:

“now that would be a shame.  Your’e a good man, and it would be sad to deprive someone of you … you would make a wonderful husband and a wonderful father … your a kind person and generous hearted, and it would be such a shame for you to not be willing to risk again …”

The tears nearly brimmed over as the words hit his open heart. He thanked me and I smiled at him, wanting to fix his pain, but knowing I couldn’t do that …

I had wanted to pray for him then and there, but felt unsure and so as I left I started to pray for him privately. Calling healing, love and blessing into his life.

It was sometime later, a few months maybe, or longer, I saw him and there was a gleam to his eye and a quickness to his step … I said “hello” and commented on how he was looking. He looked at me and told me that he had met someone special … I smiled and asked for some more details. I let him know that I had prayed for him after I left the day he had told me of his divorce and he excitedly said that the prayers had been answered.  I laughed and said that I was delighted for him, that he was too special to hide himself under a rock forever … he grinned and thanked me again saying that he had taken on my words of encouragement sometime ago …

I offered to pray for him at this point and he agreed, telling me some of what he felt he wanted prayer for …

Well this first relationship did not pan out, and he has seen a few more people … but he is not crushed each time. He  is still hopeful that one day he will meet a person with whom he can share his life…

I see him regularly and catch up with how he is each time … he is a part of my community, and a blessing to those that he works for, and that work under his supervision. Sometimes I will pray for him, other times it is purely pleasantries.

The last time I saw him was a few Fridays ago.  I was sitting outside a coffee shop having a cuppa with my husband in the sunshine. There was the usual banter, and a bit of Aussie teasing, and I asked him what he was up to while the store was closed (where he worked was being renovated). He told me he was heading off to Dubai for a holiday so I called him over and prayed for him again, asked God to bless him and to make his paths straight, and that He would be granted wisdom.

He grinned and looked at us both and said he planned to have a brilliant time …

I watched him walk away and thought of the kindness he had shown me. I thought of the broken man he had been when he had poured his heart out in the store a little later, and how he had healed and grown strong again, knowing that he was worth being loved and that he was worth loving again …

Did my prayers make a difference? I don’t know for sure, I’d like to believe so. What I do know is that he poured his heart out to me in the middle of the store, and that in that moment I could speak life into the place of pain in his heart. These words hit home, and he said they had meant a great deal. I had a strong burden on my heart for him as I left, and I prayed and lifted him up to my God.  Would he have healed anyway … maybe … but what I know and believe is that to walk as Jesus walked, when we feel compassion for people, we are to stop and pray (whether we do that face to face or privately that’s between you and God) but regardless I do not believe that God gives us a heart for people to just feel sad … but to do something about it.  I believe these prayers matter, and I believe that these prayers make a difference. I believe that we are called to the lost, hurting and wounded, and I believe that God sends them to us to speak life into them because …

God is Good!

 

 

 

Prayer releases Heaven’s bulls eye … God is Good!

The purpose of these posts is to declare and remember that God is Good!

This is something that I have resolved in my heart – that no matter what … God is Good!

In the storm – He is there.

In the calm – He is there.

And – He is Good!

God is ALWAYS GOOD!

Graham Cooke teaches this so well. In the midst of challenges and hardship, Graham teaches us that we should stop and ask (my summation of Graham’s teaching – Graham is so much more eloquent):

‘God what are You doing right now, I know your’e up to something, and it’s always good, it’s always for my benefit. God, who do You want to be for me right now? How do you see that person right now? How can I agree with you God for that person in prayer?’

Every challenge is an opportunity to grow, and every tough awful event is an opportunity to learn more about God, His character, and who He wants to be for us. And, the best part is, once we get it we can pass it on – it’s our inheritance to share with others!

In the midst of storms, our own storms or other’s storms, or in this case, we are all in the storm, we have an opportunity to ask:

‘God what are you up to? How do you see me? How do you see X? …’

It will always be kind, because He is a kind Father It will always be redemptive, because that is Who He is!

And so, I encourage you to seek Him first, see how He sees others, or situations, and pray it, declare it, release it … always blessing, always favour, always good, always redemptive – for Jesus did not come to condemn the world … He came to save it! John 3:17

It is God’s kindness that leads to us to repentance (the changing of minds) see Romans 2:3-4

So I will continue to post at this time, and declare the Truth that God is a Good God and He is in a Good Mood!

I will continue to post because it is by the blood of the Lamb and by the power of my testimony, your testimony, our testimonies, that the attack of the enemy is defeated (Rev 12:11) …

So, release your testimony and call on the blood of the lamb, and pray as God leads you, knowing that as you pray you are painting a target in the spirit realm on that person, over that situation, in that land, one that we may not see in the natural, but it is there, and God knows it’s there and He will hit the mark (and I want to hear about it when He does) because …

God IS Good!

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Salt preserves – being community in the world … God is Good!

Yesterday I posted about the time I had to stop and breathe. During this time God came and nurtured me, and gave me a list of dot points to “do” (note: it is a high priority to “be” every day, before I “do”).

One of my dot points was literally: “JMAB – skype lessons.”

JMAB is an elite ballet school.  It provides excellent dance tuition to literally hundreds of children, who represent 100’s of families in our wider community.  The school has existed for YEARS!

With the prospect of community distancing, schools shutting, and our suburbs getting ready to go into shut down I became acutely aware of the needs of our ballet school, and how very vulnerable the staff would be feeling. Now, this was last week people, so Australia was still not really seeing the writing on the wall.  I have always prayed for every school community that we are a part of, and this school is no exception, and so, as this season of challenge accelerated over the last few weeks I have found myself praying more and more for JMAB staff.

Now, I have learnt to hold my tongue with God ideas, and to go gently gently, especially with pre Christians, although on this I stuff up all the time.  So, I sat on this idea and waited for God’s timing, for a natural opportunity to make the suggestion.

It came Sunday afternoon!

I received a text that the school would be shut down due to State Government guidelines.

I texted the staff member back saying:

Hi S

We have set up a studio in our lounge room. We would love privates by video by video – what are your thoughts? This way we can support the studio financially through this time and the kids can keep training xxx

Note: I wanted to keep the idea small to start with, but I saw it HUGE – much bigger than just the odd private lesson

I then texted more:

We are setting up our cameras etc too 🙂 Maybe J could put the level 2 music and other music online for the kids too.  There is so much we can do as a community to keep JMAB going xxx

As I texted, I read what I wrote to my husband and as I did waves of the Presence, or surges of God’s anointing came and covered me powerfully. It took me by surprise, but though laughter, and it’s intensity I thought “ok God must be on this”.

Then suddenly the phone rang.

It was S.

We then proceeded to have a discussion. I told S I had been praying for them all and that last week I had felt I had received this idea as I prayed for them.  I told her I wanted her to know they were not alone, and that they were important to us.  That JMAB and staff were important to the community.

S had a number of challenges with the idea.  She was already defeated and deflated. I gently came back with decent suggestions to counter the issues (the ideas just came people) and as I did she slowly warmed to the idea and even started saying how it could perhaps work, and she started problem solving for herself, and she started to sound more hopeful. I knew not to be too intense, to let the idea slowly simmer. After quite a lengthy call, I hung up hopeful, trusting and praying that she would communicate the ideas to J, the principal of the school.

I had to trust God!

Yesterday I drove my daughter to the school to empty her locker, and while there my daughter saw J, the principal teacher.

J said to my daughter that she hoped to see her soon … AND she said that she was hoping to do some classes online … !!!

When my daughter jumped back into the car and told me MY HEART SANG!!

We are called to be salt and light to the world (Matthew 5:13-16).

Salt preserves.

Salt brings cohesion to a recipe, it binds the flavours together.

Salt also highlights and intensifies flavours.

I’m hoping God’s salt will preserve JMAB and staff in this time of uncertainty for so many.  Just a sprinkle, and I trust He will do the rest – because He cares more for them than I do.

How do we be salt?

We release Him as we go, we release His ideas as we go, and we pray for people (in our prayer closets, and in the open). We seek His ideas for them, and if we have the opportunity we gently communicate those ideas (whether saying He gave them or not)

How do we not lose our saltiness?

We spend time with the One who created everything,  We read His word, we worship, we pray, we journal … we dream with God.

And as we do, in these uncertain times, more than ever people will see that …

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!

The sweet sweet presence of God – God is Good!

Last week my husband and I went for a walk up to our local supermarket. It had been very hot and we were treating our children, who were at home watching a movie, to some ice cream.

As we checked out our few items at self-service, I noticed that the young girl overseeing the area had a bandage wrapped around her right hand.  I looked at her and smiled, and felt the familiar nudge from God.  I didn’t want to ignore the nudge, but I also didn’t want to force it.  The checkout kiosk closest to her had just become clear, so I made my way over to it with our items.

As we stood and checked out our items, I turned to her and motioning to her bandage I mentioned that it looked nasty and I asked her how she did it.  She responded that she had cut it deeply with a kitchen knife …

I winced in sympathy, and said to her “this may seem a little strange but, could I pray for your hand to be healed quickly?  I’m a Christian and I would love to pray for you.”

“Sure” she said and I told her my name as she told me hers and I put my hand out to take her hand gently in mine, as she, misunderstanding my gesture, went to shake my hand in greeting.

“No … sorry”, I smiled “I just want to touch your hand gently” and she nodded  leaving her hand out for me to pray, and I prayed, touching her hand gently with mine.

The sense of God swept over us and as it did I felt that she was looking for a new job.  I looked at her and asked her if this was the case and she nodded … looking a little blown away (I was pretty sure she felt the power of God too) and so I prayed for her new job, I prayed for favour and for the doors of her destiny to open, for her to find what she was created for, and that she would flourish …

Finishing up, I thanked her for allowing me to pray and wished her a brilliant day and we left.

This is a simple story, but the sense of God’s presence was powerful, and the sense of His sheer pleasure as I did as He desired was gentle and sweet.

As we walked home, neither my husband nor I mentioned anything about it.  For me anyway, it felt like a very sweet holy moment, and I nearly didn’t want to discuss it.  Eventually, about half way home  A turned to me and said “well done” and gave me a hug and he then said “did you feel the anointing on that?  It was powerful and I wondered if you felt it …”

I nodded saying I had, and I said that it had felt good to step out and pray for her in that way with such a clear leading from the Holy Spirit, with no striving, no fear, and with such a strong sense of His presence as I did what He asked …

In fact it just felt good to be out walking, doing life and stopping for the one because …

God is Good!