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!

Special education her passion; Heaven her destination, God is Good!

With a new school term upon us, my daughter and I made a dash to our local shopping centre to ensure shoes would fit properly for the coming days.

As we ducked through the department store, a jumper (sweater) caught my eye. In a flash, I felt to buy it. On checking size and colour, I proceeded to the cashier’s desk.

A beautiful young girl called ‘Alicia’ came to serve us. We chatted as she processed the sale, and I knew I was to ask if I could pray for her.

Words of knowledge rapidly came to mind, so I gently felt my way through what I was hearing as we talked. I mentioned that working for the store was not her destiny. For some it is, I knew a girl years ago who loved retail and went on to a very successful career, but it was not for Alicia. In sensing this, I asked her about it, and she told me she was studying to become a teacher. I explained I was a Christian, and asked if I could pray for her, for her destiny to open up. She readily agreed. So I took her hand, listening for what God wanted me to pray. My 9-year-old daughter by my side.

The word ‘travel’ came to mind, and I sensed it was for overseas travel. I asked her about this and she said she was saving up to travel overseas. And so with the start of my ‘assignment’ I blessed her finances and declared ‘open doors’ to her destiny.

As I prayed, I ‘heard’ the words ‘special ed’.

 I queried her again, saying: “I know you are studying to become a teacher, but I sense that your heart is in special education, is that right?

She took a breath, responding that yes, special education was her passion.

So I prayed open doors into the field of special education, and I blessed the desires of her heart. I told her she would be a marvellous special education teacher. I did so because I knew she would. Indeed, I declared she would bless many ‘special ed children’ and their families, and she would alter destinies of those she taught for the better. I told her what I knew, and I stated as I prayed she would be a great blessing. It all encapsulated her heart’s desires, and I knew because it was God’s heart for her too.

I then heard the words ‘UK’ – ‘United Kingdom’

Again, I clarified by asking her if she was travelling to the UK. She said she wanted to travel to the USA to meet friends that were ‘having a blast.’ Smiling, I encouraged her to her to consider the idea of travel to the United Kingdom, explaining there might be opportunities and open doors there for her to teach in special education. I said to her that the UK was a wonderful place to live, but I also said:

I could also be wrong in that… just don’t discount the idea,’ and I smiled.

My daughter looked up and grinned at me, tugging my arm in excitement. Alicia stood in awe, amazed I would know these things about her. So, I explained I knew these things not because I was special but because she was special. God saw her. God wanted me to know them about her, so that I could pray them for her, that they would come to pass. In my knowing these details about her life, showed her that there was a God that knew her, saw her, and loved her enough for me to stop for her.

I then felt the nudge to ask her if she wanted Jesus Christ in her heart.

‘You haven’t asked Jesus into your heart yet, have you?’ I asked,

She replied no.

On the unction, I asked her if she wanted to do so.

She thought for a moment, ‘yes, I do!

So in the women’s clothing section of our local department store, a young woman gave her heart to Jesus Christ, accepting what He had done for her on the cross, and asked Him to fill her heart.

Once finished, I felt to give her my mobile (cell) number and name. I briefly explained my background so she would be comfortable to know I was not a Fruit Loop, and I left – my daughter’s face shining; me thoroughly washed in the love of Jesus (because that which flows through you, leaves a residual Presence, which is why it is so much fun to do this); and with Alicia staring at us as we left.

Anyone watching would have seen an ordinary mum and daughter, off to buy school shoes, hand in hand, leaving behind a beautiful and much-loved young woman, a bright destiny open, and a gift of salvation received.

‘Did she call?’

It would surprise me if she called.

There was no surprise. There was no call.

Some have criticised me for this, for leading someone to Christ but not following them up personally, taking their phone number, buying a Bible etc. Those people rarely stop for anyone as they go, so it’s easy to criticise. Some do stop and always follow up – I honour them. The year I had this encounter, I would have stopped for over 1000 people on my way. Some I mentored, others I prayed for and released to God.

The critic always plays a perfect game from their place of comfort.

I used to follow up every single one that I led to Christ, and in the early days I would follow up every one I prayed for too. I ran myself ragged. No one would help me from my local church, and I simply could not do it all on my own with two young children. By this stage, I had peace.

If God prompts me to get their number and chase them up, I will. If not, I know and trust He has their best interests at heart. I trust He will call them into His Church, into His Body, and I leave them free to contact me as and when they wish. It is their journey with a loving Father, and hence literally their call if they reach out to me for more for:

…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Cor 3:17)

Regardless, I do what I feel I am required to do. I ‘go about My Father’s business’ (Luke 2:49), as best can, and as I do, I am certain that they will know, that Alicia knows that…

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!

The God who sees (part 2)

© Sam Manns
God gave me kisses on Thursday. I had been flat, I needed encouragement.
He is the God who sees…

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.

© Michael Odelberth

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.

© Alicja Gancarz

‘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.

© Jen Theodore

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…

© Natasha Ivanchikhina

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!

© Suhash Villuri

Treasures in Darkness… Christmas Shopping with Jesus

We had a few hours on a Saturday to do child free Christmas shopping before going to a movie. With our list in hand, we did not know that Jesus had His own Christmas shopping list for us to do too…!

I was in the ‘ladies’ when I found the first on His list. God told me to pray for someone outside my cubicle. Side note: Yes, He talks to me everywhere.

‘She has been a great blessing to others for many, many years, I want you to bless her’.

As I washed my hands, I looked at ‘her’ in the mirror.

She was an elderly woman waiting for her granddaughter. I introduced myself and stated that that I believed she had been a great blessing to many people over the years. I then asked if I could pray a blessing over her. She looked surprised but agreed.

Her name was Joy.

She was the second Joy I had prayed for that week and I mentally noted the ‘coincidence.’

I blessed Joy knowing that she knew Joy and was familiar with the Joy of God. She teared up a little as I prayed and blessed her, and once done, she asked if I would also pray for her granddaughter. I agreed and prayed and prophesied over her granddaughter, declaring her destiny would open and unfold, that she was a pillar and a leader in the coming move of God, which I believed would be a move that came through the youth in power. Joy excitedly said she had been praying for revival for years…

My husband had been waiting patiently outside. He knew what was going on inside because people were coming out from the bathroom saying in amazement that there was “someone praying in there for people…” and pointing back to the door. Andrew knew what I was up to and laughed. I hadn’t thought about that sort of impact, but it was quite funny…

Jesus assignment done, we got a coffee and discussed our shopping…

©Haemosoo Kim unsplash

As we waited for our coffees, I popped into another store to “bag” our first item. C served me, and yes, God had me pray for her. C was a young girl (about 16) who “felt” the anointing as I prayed. I prophesied she would discover who she was and why she was in the next two years. She had said she did not know, but my gosh, she was a marvellous girl!. I headed off with my purchase and sat with my husband to finish our coffee…

I felt I had done my dash, and we headed off to a sporting store. We purchased nothing, but on our way out I walked past a very disabled girl with her parents. Strapped into her wheelchair, her arms and legs fastened down. The girl’s body was small, deformed, and she displayed no control over her head movements. I felt God’s strong desire for me to pray, but I was so intimidated by the severity of her condition. I internally argued with God as we walked away from the store, but ultimately said:

‘Ok, for You, I’m willing to do it…’ and I went back to search the shop.

I found the girl with her parents waiting at the checkout. The intensity of my nerves made it an extreme fight to approach them. I fought the extreme urge to walk away, knowing that God really wanted me to ask if I could pray for her…

Stopping in front of her chair, I asked her parents if I could pray. I desperately did not want them to feel that I felt sorry for them, but I also wanted them to know that I cared. They agreed, so I knelt and addressed their daughter, who could not talk at all.

She was dribbling and had an angry-looking rash on her face from the dampness of her dribble. Her hands were unformed, and her body was tiny. I knelt and taking her hand in mine, and I quietly introduced myself. Her parents looked weary and watched on as I prayed, and her father leant in to listen.

As I prayed, she locked her gaze on mine. believe she could clearly feel God as I prayed for her. The frantic movements slowed, and she held onto my gaze several times. I prayed for her parents too and asked God to provide solutions.

Leaving the store, I thanked the girl and parents for stopping and allowing me to pray for them. I felt wobbly and said to Andrew it must be nerves; instead he encouraged me, suggesting it was the intensity of anointing…

©Janko Ferlic on unsplash

“Ok” I thought, “big one down”, shake, shake, shake, “gosh, ok, deep breath” shake, shake, shake…

I slowly settled down as we walked through Big W, fighting the negative thoughts, the accusations of failure and the residual impact of the nerves.

As the legs stopped shaking, I could focus on our task at hand. Andrew encouraging me all the way, we successfully made further purchases.

As we left God prompted me to pray for the cashier who said to me ‘I am not a Christian’ to which I said something like ‘that doesn’t matter, I can still bless you’ which I promptly did, placing my hand on his elbow as I spoke peace over him for this season of business.

It was time for our movie, so we headed toward the theatre. To our surprise, we had calmly and easily done all our shopping.

I felt quite successful, having bagged all that we had, and I waited while Andrew put our purchases into the car. As I stood, I tried to ignore a young girl in a wheelchair. I had noticed her out of the corner of my eye. I calmly ignored the very brief, quiet prompting, preferring to hear the louder “no” that came very much on top of the whispered ‘pray for her’. The prompt was so subtle, and I wanted to get to our movie on time, so I tried to ignore her, and I literally turned my back.

I stood and argued internally, but it was no good; I knew I had to stop for this one too.

©Krists Luhaers on unsplash

Walking over to the girl’s mother, I introduced myself, asked what her daughter had done and if I could pray. The Mum’s name was ‘A’ and was also with her teenage son, who looked like he had down syndrome, but who we later found out had autism. She looked back at me and immediately said yes, that would be great.

I knelt by the young girl (she was 14 years old) and she told me a brick wall had fallen on her, crushing and breaking one leg. The damage included the growth plate, so they had to do the same with the other leg in order that the legs would grow at the same rate.

I placed my hands on her legs (after she also gave me permission) and I prayed. She felt heat. I continued to pray and prophesy, while her friends stood by our side, politely not looking.

I asked her if she had asked Jesus into her heart. She said she had, but on a prompt I said ‘let’s do it again’ and so in response she asked Jesus into her heart. I suggested she ask that He fill her up, so she did. I continued to pray and when she said “enough” (a boundary we had agreed upon before I prayed) I thanked her and looked at her mother who then thanked me.

I thought I was going to go into the movie theatre after this and time was ticking along. We had not been to a movie for years by ourselves, so it was a real treat. However, I felt to pray for her brother and so turning to the mother I asked if I could pray for him too. She again readily agreed.

The boy called “B” was 16 years old. He swayed heavily under the anointing, and I motioned to Andrew, who quickly steadied him. He was incredibly ‘open’ to God’s presence.

©Make Simon Unsplash

I felt to suggest he say, ‘Jesus, come into my heart’

He did.

I then felt to suggest to him, ‘say Jesus fill me up,’

B said ‘Jesus fill me up’, and on saying it he kept saying it, over and over, laughing and swaying heavily under the anointing.

I finished and turned to the mother, knowing I had to pray for her too.

‘Well, this is more important than being on time for the movie,’ I thought and I offered to pray.

She agreed.

As I prayed for the mother, the compassion of God came upon me and I nearly cried. She looked like she did too. I received words of knowledge about her–she was struggling (that was obviously a possibility given her two kids) she was making major decisions, and she was a single Mum.

She told me she had 3 children and had told my husband prior to me praying that she had found the recent challenges with her daughter’s injury tough. I prayed, and she quietly received; she was so very thirsty for God and drank Him in, and as I finished praying for her, I placed my arms around her and held her close for a long, long time.

I went to release my hug, but she hung on, so I hugged her some more and when I felt it was enough, I again tried to disengage, but she again hung on again. So, I continued to hold her, yet feeling quite embarrassed by now. Again I went to release her, but she continued to hang onto me quietly. I tried again, and she hung on again… so I just stood in the middle of the busy shopping centre and let her drink and cling to me for what seemed an eternity…

I gave her our church card, and I wrote my private number on it so she could call me if she felt she wanted.

As we walked away my husband said to me he believed we were there, not so much for the daughter, but for the Mother, who had been through such a tough time, for Jesus says:

‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me… streams of living water will flow from within him.’ John 7:38-39

We saw our movie, but we missed the promos. This did not bother us at all. We even had time to go to the bathroom and settle in before the movie started. God had it all timed beautifully and I am so glad that I did not rush because He had treasures in the darkness to give…

 

©Doz Gabrial unsplash

This is what the Lord says to his anointed…

‘I will go before you and will level the mountains;

I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.

I will give you the treasures of darkness,

riches stored in secret places,

so that you may know that I am the Lord,

the God of Israel, who summons you by name. Isaiah 45:2-3 NIV

Every person I encountered was a treasure in the darkness, waiting to be discovered. Each was a treasure set out for me to discover, to find, to uncover and my footsteps ordered by a loving and knowing God. He not only blessed us with the miracle of a great time together, Christmas shopping in the Christmas rush, but He also entrusted 10 people that all needed a touch from their mighty and loving God. Ten people altered for ever more. He left those treasures out for me to find because …

God is Good.

Post Script: The shopping day was a Saturday, a few years ago now. I wrote the story up on a Tuesday, and just as I finished writing the mum rang me with the following report:

freestocks-_3Q3tsJ01nc-unsplash
©Freestocks on unsplash
  1. Her daughter stood without crutches on the Sunday;
  2. Her son lost his aggression and was much calmer. There was a change in his eyes, and they looked ‘more alert.’ He had stopped asking about his father who left the family earlier that and she said the ‘worry has lifted from his face’, he is ‘much calmer’. She told me he continues to say ‘Jesus fill me up’ and is laying hands on his mother and family friends and asking ‘can you feel that?’ and she can;
  3. The mum (A) felt much more at peace (in her home and in herself). The night before meeting us she was suicidal, and when she saw us across the shops, she stood willing us to come over. She said there was a light around both Andrew and I that she saw and wanted to be near. From that afternoon A cared for herself properly, eating 3 meals a day, and was feeling at peace.
  4. A told me she had thought about the encounter every day. She believed it was not a coincidence that we met. Just before she met us she had looked for a car park and just knew that she would find one on the middle level (where she met us) at about 1.30pm, just in time to meet us after getting her daughter out of the car with the wheelchair. She said that she had told her daughter that there would be a car park for them in that place, and there was a reason for the delay in finding one.

During our discussion on the telephone, A gave her heart to Christ. We talked at length and she shared some of her story with me. She also asked for and received the gift of tongues, feeling a ‘tingling up and down her legs’ as we prayed. She also felt the tingles over her head, as she had done earlier. Her ‘spirit spot’ burned lightly as we talked and prayed.

Post Post Script:
I kept in contact with A over Christmas and eventually arranged a coffee at my home in mid-January.

The bell rang, and on answering the door A was with her daughter who was standing. Her daughter’s name also begins with A so I will call her Little A. I stood looking at Little A and they both laughed at my shock. Little A was walking, without leg braces, without a wheelchair and without a walking stick.

After my initial shock, they came into my home where I heard the story.

©Julia Raasch unsplash

Little A had stood for the first time unaided the day after I had prayed for her. She had been told on 6th January by her physiotherapist that she would need the wheelchair, leg braces and a crutch for another 6 weeks. Yet, she was walking completely unaided on 18th January… 12 days later! At the six week mark she was back training with cadets.

Apparently she had been walking not long after being prayed for. They had gone on holidays after Christmas at a caravan park in Phillip Island. They took the wheelchair, but had not used it, and she had been walking unaided since.

So, here she was, walking well, on Wednesday 18th January, having had two broken legs and having been told she would need a wheelchair, leg braces and a walking stick for at least another 6 weeks on 6th January…!

On this visit, Little A explained that she still needed more strength in her legs. I laid hands on her legs and called strength into her thigh muscles and as I did her mother, my daughter and I noticed her knee caps moving up and down with no input from her, as if her thigh muscles were being contracted and released. She did not feel it, it just happened.

She stood and tried them out and I prayed again, and it happened again…

Her Mother and I concluded her thigh muscles must have been being strengthened supernaturally. It was the oddest thing to watch her knee caps bobbing up and down in a rapid movement!

After we finished praying and we went for a walk during which I heard more of her story.

Apparently A’s family transformed. Her son was no longer violent, she was walking in abundant favour, disputes settled supernaturally, with no effort on her part. She shared how she had told a friend who was also in a place of despair how she too could be free-she was ready to give what she had received away to others!

A said the entire journey had been remarkable, the turnaround, marvellous…

I just listened in awe, knowing that it was all a miracle, and I noted that I nearly did not stop for them because I wanted to get to the movies on time…

I wondered how many others I had simply walked past… 

How many others may have had a life transformed… had I stopped for the one…  

I am certain that there is no condemnation in Christ, but how His heart yearns for us to recognise and to step into who we truly are, to co-labour with Him in the family business.

… all creation groans…

©Clay Banks on Unsplash

Will we be bold enough to step into our inheritance and bring others with us?

Dare we to lay claim to the “treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places” (Is45:3) and set them free?

Dare we take people by the hand and say “come”?

God is breath taking in His beauty, in His kindness, in His Glory!

Dare we?

I know I must for…

God IS Good!

It’s the little things…

Community matters
© Beth Kennedy 2021

I felt the nudge to get out and go for a walk in the sunshine. There was 40 minutes before an online class started. I was a little flat, and did not feel inclined, but I recognised the nudge and so I knew to go.

Heading out, I asked which way. In my ‘wisdom’, I was sure a walk towards the beach was in order.

‘Turn right,’ I heard instead, and flashes of my local coffee shop played across my consciousness. ‘Head there, get yourself a coffee and head home.’

‘Alright’ I thought and enjoying the sunshine I did. I walked to the local that knew and loved me well.

While there, one of the junior staff members asked me how I was. In return, I asked her too.

‘Not too well’ she responded, and after enquiring further she told me her concerns, and her thoughts around the next steps she might take.

‘Give me your hand,’ I said. ‘I’m going to pray for you.’

She did, and I did.

Coffee in hand, I wished her a brilliant day, and headed home. Thinking I would head back the quick way, I checked with Him who knew…

Nope.

A clear picture emerged, and I felt a prompting to walk home past the park, essentially the way I had walked before.

Sipping my coffee, I was happily anticipating my online class. I felt sheer delight in God, and I could tangibly sense His pleasure in me and in my delight in the morning adventure. Yes, I know. It is a tad ‘Pollyanna,’ but I don’t care. We need more Pollyanna’s that delight in the little things, for they release joy as they go!

As I walked past the park, a lone koala teddy bear toy caught my gaze. He was lying face up on the footpath. I considered leaving him on a fence so the family could return to find him readily; but seeing children playing in the park, I felt to head over and check who he may belong to, even though it may well run me late for my class.

Checking with the few mums who had children and prams, I came up stumps. Readers, in Australia this means I had no success.

Noting the time and wondering if I might have just left it on the fence, yet knowing I had heard not to, I headed back to place the teddy on the fence. I took photos so I could post it on a local Facebook group and hoped that the little owner would reunite with what looked like a well loved toy.

As I finished taking the photos, I noticed in the distance a mum with a child in a pram, hurrying up the path.

Picking up the teddy, I headed towards her. A little shy face peered at me, and with an outstretched hand the little person took the precious koala from me.

Delighted, the mum said what a beautiful thing to do. I felt silly and said she would have found him, anyway.

We exchanged a few more words, and I said goodbye, wishing her well, agreeing that our local community was a lovely place to live.

I walked home logging onto my class late. I briefly wondered what it was all about. Had I missed it? Perplexed, I dismissed it, giving it no more thought.

It was not until this morning as I again headed out for a quick 20-minute walk in the late morning sunshine that it came to mind. God had reminded me I needed to buy some food for 4 hungry boys due to arrive after school, and He encouraged me to go before my class. It was on this walk I asked again what this minor interaction had been all about.

‘Community matters,’ He said.

‘Community matters?’ I responded. ‘I know community matters…’ and then the penny dropped.

Face-to-face connection is so important. I was a stay at home mum. I have also worked from home for 20-plus years. I know how important it is to get out and talk to real live human beings; to smile at people; be in the sunshine; grab a coffee on a walk; sit at a coffee shop to work where they know you and you know them. The brief interactions, the smiles, the encouraging words, and exchange of loving ideas and knowledge about life… it all matters.

In the grand scheme of life, these are such little things – but are they?

In responding to a prompt to have a quick walk in the sunshine, towards my community, rather than in isolation along the beach, I received and gave some loving interaction. I know Christians and non-Christians that are great at this. In this season we are being called to our neighbourhoods.

The Sesame Street song comes to mind that asks ‘who are the people in your neighbourhood?’

The walk blessed me. I chatted to people in my local coffee shop; I stopped to listen to a young girl with some challenges; I smiled at the people doing yoga in the park; and I nodded at a shop owner as I passed by. I stopped to chat to mums in the park, and finally, I chatted to the mum with the child that had lost the toy koala. All incidental moments; all Kingdom in design.

That interaction with the mum, while it ran me late, showed that mum, who perhaps was a little lonely, that she lived in a community that cared enough to stop for the little things, like a lost toy. A little thing to me – a huge thing in a mum’s life with a little one that needs that toy to sleep.

I looked at her and said she looked like she was doing a superb job. We exchanged a few ideas. I said it gets easier, that they end up in school in no time. And I verbally affirmed that she indeed lived in a beautiful neighbourhood. (Bill Meyer I see you!).

And, overall, it blessed me, probably more than I blessed anyone I stopped for.

It reminded me, community matters!

I know the sort of community I want to live in – and so I seek to be the change…

And so how do we create the community we want to live in?

It’s the little things that matter.

We stop for the one.

We chat, we love, and we encourage.

It is in this way that together we impact a nation, one kind act at a time… a grassroots movement…

It is the little things that matter, and God sees them all and cares for each one because…

God is good!

Love looks like something…

So, this is the beautiful Nikita who writes poetry and loves gifts. She encountered Love a couple of weeks ago when my friends and I had coffee…

Love looks like something
© Nikita Borg 2020
Days after we spoke with her, a group of Christians from another church had coffee there. The pastor chatted to her, and she told him her story of meeting us. He invited her to his church. She plans to go. Ironically, it’s the same church I would have suggested to her, but I had felt not to push it, but allow her to go on her own journey. Now I know why I was to stand back – God had it all in hand. The church is just perfect to accept her creativity, beauty, and gentleness of heart.
I will let her tell more of her story.
She gets it…
this is NORMAL Christianity, this is what Love looks like…❤️
Nikita writes on her Facebook page:

hello facebook, please meet L 🌞 L is a dear friend of mine. he is exactly like you and I. He has a heart and soul and a really beautiful dream; to spread the words of love and kindness. He is an incredibly colourful human with an old soul wiseness and a phenomenal artist as you can see! He is almost always peacefully planted outside the ANZ bank in _____ sipping coffee, smoking making art, being, interacting with anyone that chooses to interact with him. I know I really enjoy buying his art as gifts for others and myself but him all to his own, the human that he is, the alphabet he created and the love he emits he is the most kind and whole soul I’ll probably ever meet. So yes this is a huge plug to get you all to support him and buy his art but he also likes flat whites with two sugars and hugs. I gave him a big hug today and he cried and cried and said nobody had done that for years. So if your lucky enough to befriend him and your a hunger just go for it 💙
Not long after she wrote this post she privately messaged me:

I gave myself to God today in front of everyone at fire church I cried and cried and felt a weight lifted and the pastor I knew came over and said a prayer for me and I feel so different. THANK-YOU! I would also be very interested in a more formal church. Can always go to two…… where do you go?

I LOVE JESUS

Three words:

God is Good!

Love looks like something.

Will you leak Heaven as you go?
What does it look like for you?
I’d love to hear your testimonies.

Post lockdown shopping with Jesus… Kindness matters… #grateful

Grateful Photo by Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash

The Friday afternoon, after the coffee with friends where we found a treasure in a girl with a heart tattoo, I dropped my daughter to an appointment and went browsing in a local clothing store.

Wandering in I said ‘hi’, chose a few pieces to try on, and popped into the change room.

The owner and I were chatting about the recent lockdown that lasted 4-6 months here in Melbourne. We discussed the businesses we each knew that had closed, the people we knew that had been ill with covid, the people that were so very angry… at everything… and those that had struggled…

She asked me how I had coped.

‘Gratitude’ I said.

‘Choosing joy, while acknowledging heart ache and sadness…’

‘Gratitude…’ I said again.

In chatting we realised we had both chosen gratitude. We acknowledged the fear, the pain, the loss, but we had also looked at all that we were grateful for, the things we did have, and noted that we lived in a safe country, a beautiful country, and that kindness was the primary response that would get Melbourne back up and running.

In between dresses the owner paused, looking at me she said, ‘you look really spiritual’.

I laughed. I looked like a post covid-19 lockdown me. A little bigger than she had last seen me, and that was all. She has seen me over the years regularly. I often walked into browse her shop.

The difference?

She was spiritually open.

We chatted some more, and as I paid for my new dress I offered to pray for her.

She agreed, and so I released the Kingdom of Heaven into her store, I blessed the work of her hands, and her business, I honoured her in her walk of grace in a difficult time with her ex business partner, I spoke of what I sensed would or could be future plans, places to open further stores, business blueprints and ideas…

I essentially spoke God’s heart for her and her business, including the business development plans she had held in her heart…

She was shocked, and exclaimed it was in line with her very thoughts.

I laughed and said that was God affirming her ideas and plans.

Sensing I had finished what I needed to pray, I ended the prayer.

She cried… and asked: ‘can I hug you?’

‘Yes’ I said

And so she stepped out and around into my arms and we hugged as she wept…

It was the second hug of the day from a stranger, that God had set His sights upon.

‘There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God’

Psalm 46:4

I retell this story, not to big note or brag, but to demonstrate that if I can do this, anyone can.

I’m not perfect.

I don’t always get it right.

But God knows; God sees; God loves…

He has a heart to see the one before us, and if we will listen, love and let Him flow out, He will take care of the rest, because…

God is Good!

Post Script:

I prayed for one more person this same day. There were no hugs, there were no tears, I provided a listening ear. It was a chat at a sweet store (we were buying lollies for Christmas stockings) but there was no overt element that showed me the recipient was impacted. It is normal to have encounters of great breakthrough, and then encounters that would leave you wondering why bother. It’s all good, any attempt is a ‘win’, as long as I step forth in love. It is not a notch on the belt… it is purely seeing a need and sensing a desire to bless or love the person before you, knowing that…

God is Good!

 

Fruit happens… Coffee & God’s heart for the one

Last Friday I caught up with two beautiful Christian friends. I do life with them. They make up my writers/life accountability group.

Coffee cup filled with love ©Ben Libby @benlibby

We met for the first time in person since February. The joy was tangible. We exchanged gifts, laughter poured out, and we released shouts of glee into the outdoor restaurant.

The waitress, a young woman maybe in her late 20’s stopped and smiled: ‘oh I love gifts, Christmas is my favourite time of the year, I just love giving gifts- thank you for reminding me of this.’

We chatted briefly and offered to pray for her.

She quickly said yes.

I prophesied, noting the tattoos that ran up her arms, and released God’s heart of love for her. I said I saw her writing and felt she was a poet… I encouraged her to keep writing and spoke to other things I knew.

She was a poet, and many of the other words also affirmed her. They spoke to her heart. She was not a Christian yet, and she was clearly hungry for the love and the joy we carried as a group.

Later, she saw us outside the café, and spoke again to us, asking where we went to church, calling us angels. I told her what church I attended online and spoke more into her situation. She shared that she had been suicidal during lockdown and she struggled with drugs.

‘God can deal with that,’ I said.

She looked at me and asked, ‘Can I hug you?’

I responded ‘Of course’ and as we hugged, I whispered to her she was beautiful, I kissed her on the cheek and we exchanged details….

The following Monday night I received a message:

‘Beth thank-you all three of you beautiful angels have inspired me to actually go to a church I was heavily drawn to before seeing you which is close to me thank you thank you thank you’

And then Saturday evening, I received this message:

Beth…. I am so overwhelmed and appreciative to tell you I HAVE given myself to god. I cried and cried after work today as I pulled into my driveway and realised I had given myself and I feel so happy to be back with god and to love god and know that he loves me. I feel so happy to be where I belong. You had such a big influence on this as did your friends. I showed this emotion to my mum and she has always gently felt the same but I suppose I wasn’t ready. And then this poem just now the first poem as I open the book….

 

In my daily life since talking with god I feel him and feel peace and when I give I feel perfect and know it is in perfect sense to do so
THANK-YOU THANK-YOU THANK-YOU BETH
❤️

She said:

I felt drawn to a man today to buy him a smiley face biscuit and so I did and he was delighted and his friend said what made you do that and I said I had a tingly in my tummy to do so and the tinglys are clear and strong and warm and just thank-you so much ❤️
[author’s note: anyone can do this!]

Now, I may look like I am the hero in this interaction.

I ‘m not.

As a group, the three of us felt love for one another, and we were expressing our sheer Joy… she was drawn by the Joy fruit in our life…

The three of us just stopped and turned to see a beautiful, gifted girl, and said yes to being the conduit of a loving God, a Father who loved her without reserve. He did the rest…

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

(Galatians 5:22-23)

My friends and I are still in contact with her.

We will be by her side as much as she wants us to be, to encourage her and love her as best we can… because we are not perfect.

We know that as long as she holds onto the love of the Father’s heart of Jesus, she will be ok because…

God is Good!

As an addendum, this beautiful heart wrote:

I am so emotional for you and the gift you are I am so thankful and so happy

I wrote two poems just now just flowed straight out of me and I am going to publish my own book of poetry ❤️

THANK-YOU

PS: I am happy to answer questions about this encounter. This was one of three for the day, as I went about my Friday. I will post about the next in a future post.