Treasures in Darkness… Christmas Shopping with Jesus

©Ron Dauphin on Unsplash
©Ron Dauphin on Unsplash

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.

Can you see the one before you?

This morning I was a little flat. We are still in stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne, Australia, and although there was some lifting of restrictions last night, the changes do not really change anything for us in our little bubble.

Restless, I pulled on my big girl pants and drove to the naturopath to pick up some tablets.

As I chatted to the owner, I asked her how she was.

She felt the same – a little flat.

We chatted and exchanged comments, and as I did, I noticed the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit.

I stopped and asked: ‘can I pray for you?’

She looked, muttered ‘yes’ and instantly cried.

‘Oh gosh, yes, please, oh, gosh, that would be nice… I don’t know why I’m crying, how kind…’

Her words tumbled out through her tears.

I responded through tears: ‘it’s ok, I can feel the Holy Spirit here, and I felt to offer to pray…’

She came out from around the desk. I asked if I could place my hand on her back. I actually desperately wanted to hug her…

I prayed for her to be refreshed and to receive joy, hope, good sleep, favour for her children who would also remain at home when school returns in a week.

I also felt I heard a word for her, which I gave for the business, and she stepped back wiping away her tears.

There was nothing more to say in that moment.

We both agreed – three more weeks and perhaps it would be better for us both…

Gerberas to give. Nothing to lose ©Beth Kennedy 2020

As I drove away, I thought of the woman who had texted me that morning that she was closing her business. It was too hard. She texted all her customers; I was just one of many. I felt the nudge to drive to the concourse where her shop was located and buy some flowers, so I did, some beautiful large bright happy orange gerberas, thinking I would offer to buy some of her produce to help with the finances of closing shop and moving to the country.

If I was to do this, surely she will be in her shop clearing it out… if I had ‘heard’ right… right?

The shop was closed and no-one was answering my knock!

Maybe I got it wrong…

Frustrated, I then felt to drive back to give them to the naturopath practice.

‘Surely it would cheer her day,’ I thought. Nothing to lose. I did, but I felt it fell flat… I felt foolish…

Maybe I got that wrong…

Still feeling unsatisfied, I drove back to shop area, drove past the shop and the door was still shut with no-one inside.

So I took the Gerberas home ©Beth Kennedy 2020

‘Right’, I thought, ‘I’m driving home’, but it didn’t feel right to just drive home…

Soooooo, I went back again and bought some gerberas (this time smaller bright orange ones), hoping I had ‘got it right’ this time…

Nope – the shop remained shut and empty.

I brought the flowers home and they sit on my kitchen table, bright and cheery.

So I am telling this to encourage those that are giving this ‘stopping for the one’ a go. People that have heard many of my stories think somehow that I get this stuff right, all the time…

I don’t!

You will get it right sometimes.

You will get it wrong sometimes, but if it blesses someone who cares, God loves your heart, and someone gets blessed.

You will get the timing wrong sometimes – I will give it another shot if I can to bless the woman whose business is closing. Let her know her community cares.

And sometimes you just don’t know what you were hearing… but try to step out any

way.

The bottom line is, giving it a go counts – giving it a go is a ‘win’.

So, even though I feel like I missed it, I didn’t.

I loved on a woman who was struggling, and I tried to love on another.

Incline your ear, regardless of how you feel.

Stop for the one as you go, and you will learn, as you go…

And I can guarantee that you will taste and see that…

God is Good!

 

Let me know when you thought you got it right, but then you got it wrong, or you thought you got it wrong… but did you?

Stop for the one regardless of lockdown

Late last year, I bumped into a friend I had not seen for years.

We briefly chatted, and then she surprised me by suggesting we catch up. She said she loved spending time with me years ago, and would love to catch up for lunch. I was delighted, but a little surprised.

Trust me… I am nothing special.

We had lunch and chatted and spoke a little about our own personal challenges. She shared her heart and as she spoke I saw a picture of her sitting at an easel doing art. I asked her about it, explaining that I ‘saw’ her doing something like painting under a tree.

I need to state this friend may not label herself as a ‘Christian’, but she does believe in the goodness of human beings. She believes that we are responsible to others and ourselves to make good choices. She believes it is our responsibility to leave the world a better place than it was before we were in it.

She does know that I do call myself a ‘Christian’, and she accepts me, for all my flaws and inconsistencies that brings.

I go gently in my Christian talk, because I don’t want to offend her – she is my friend, and friends are kind to one another. Friends do not shove values or belief systems down each other’s throats, yet they are not threatened by a difference of opinion, or a healthy discussion. Friends can agree to disagree while honouring the difference of opinion. I find her attitude generous and gracious.

The last time we spoke was years ago, pre prophetic training. I was prophetic back then (news flash: we all are!) but I just didn’t realise I was and I had not learnt how to listen and then mention what I ‘saw’ or ‘sensed’ for people.

So I asked about the painting (with no Christian ease) and she told me she LOVED painting/drawing. I told her what had happened; she accepted what I said, and we moved on in our conversation.

I encouraged her to join an art class, buy some supplies, and recommended a few more personal things, and we went on our way. She was encouraging to me too; it’s a two-way deal people. She was not, and is not a ‘project’, she is a friend, a real live friend, and I see her because I want to, not because she needs saving…

Red hot keen Christians that carry belts with notches please read the above paragraph again…

My friend is not a ‘notch on the belt’… I like her and accept her, and I would continue to see her as a friend even if she never accepted Jesus into her heart!

People can smell belt notching a mile away!

Hence this story…

Within 24 hours I received a message saying that she had ticked off all three items we discussed, and we promised we would catch up again – she would tell me how she got on with her projects, and I would share how I was getting on with mine.

We caught up briefly before Christmas. At the time she was very thankful, and I felt embarrassed because while I was the mouthpiece and the ears (I listened to her and God), I just encouraged her to step into something she loved, into something God created her to do…

Well…

Fast forward to lockdown stage 4 in Melbourne, Australia. We can now be out for total 2 hours (with one other person if they are not from our home). I have thought of my friend a few times over the last 6 months, but about 10 days ago, I acted on the thought (I believe the prompting) and I texted her to arrange a walk.

As we walked, our discussion got deep quickly, and she asked me a little about my belief in God. She shared her views on many things, God, faith, spirituality. She chatted, I listened; I chatted, she listened…

We will catch up again this Wednesday.

Christians on social media seem to think because we cannot gather in a church building that somehow we cannot do anything effective for the Kingdom, we can’t impact people.

This is nonsense.

There are many ways to ‘stop for the one’.

Sometimes it means stopping for the one stranger on the street – as you walk past you offer to pray, or give them a word of encouragement, or just shout them a coffee.

Other times it’s the phone call that you feel you could make, or the email you could send… and you call or you send it.

Sometimes it’s the prophetic inclination you have for your boss and you share it at work, without declaring ‘thus says the Lord’… there is no need to declare a prophetic inclination in that way – just be relatable.

Other times, it’s just catching up with a friend who happens, unbeknownst to you, to need encouragement. That friend needs someone to SEE them warts and all and call out ‘you are loved my friend’. Sometimes we just need to call out the gold… regardless of whether they ever come to Christ.

It’s about being the Body (not doing the Body). It’s about being human. It’s about moving in response to His heart beat for yourself and others, and in this all will see that…

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 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!

 

 

 

Stop, shop and release Hope … God is Good!

My last two posts have been about obedience to God in a place of rest rather than striving.

This story occurred last week as I went about my day.  Toilet paper, meat, vegetables, fruit, pasta, rice had flown off the shelves, and our supermarket shelves were bare.

I had just dropped my daughter to her ballet training when a ballet teacher Miss A ran up to the car to apologise for opening the studio late. I smiled and said not to worry. I was keen to get to the plant nursery (a job I had planned for over a week).  However, rather than being able to wave a cheery ‘goodbye’ and speed off I saw that she looked distressed.

I had to stop and slow down for the one.

Miss A started to pour her heart out about her fears.  She feared her loss of income, how she had not been able to buy anything at the supermarket (where she had been and run late that morning), how she was running low in toilet paper, and food, and she had so many to feed at home, including two growing teenagers training at an elite level in ballet.  She then said how worried she was for her 14-year-old daughter who had cried with fright, how her son’s training was being interrupted, and how all the overseas scholarship training and performing opportunities had dried up due to the virus.

I looked at her distressed face, stopped, remembering we were to bring ‘Hope” to the world. I recalled that I was born for such a time as this (even though I felt just as useless) and I spoke out the good, how blessed she was that she could continue to train her beautiful children, how I had been praying for the studio, for the staff, that it would be ok, that we would all be ok, that maybe we could do some distance training online … (gently, gently I dropped that last idea in since it was as yet unformed in my heart – it would not be until the following day that God confirmed this to be a suggestion).

I really didn’t have any answers for her and felt a bit useless; however, as I drove off, I prayed, and as I did I felt my morning gently being rearranged by an invisible but very present Fatherly hand.

I was to go back to my home suburb. This made no sense to me, but I listened and as I drove I felt to go to my local greengrocer/mini market.

“Ok God I will, what have I got to lose if I’m wrong, and then I’ll head to the nursery.”

Gardening is my thing and with enforced home time looming, and a birthday gift voucher burning a hole in my pocket, I wanted to get to my purchase before shops shut. I never did get to the nursery that day …

I walked into the local shop, and to my surprise there was loads of everything – there was an abundance of food … fresh chicken, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pasta, rice everything she said she needed but could find …

As I wandered and bought a few things for our home (chicken and sweet potatoes and potatoes) I felt a nudge to text the teacher.  I was a little reluctant – I just don’t like looking too keen if you know what I mean, but on the nudge I texted, and then rang, leaving a message.

She rang back quickly and I explained there was plenty of food – what did she want?

She said she would go later, to which I replied, “no, I will do the shopping for you to be sure you have what you need.”

In a nutshell, I got a shopping list from her and I loaded my trolley with her shopping needs chicken, wraps, corn, sweet potatoes, brown rice, potatoes, leek, vegetable stock … the list went on.

At the end of the call she breathlessly said: “I told LS (her daughter) that people’s kindness would shine through and we would be ok.”

I agreed, we would be ok … and I agreed that her daughter would see people’s kindness shine through this time, even though she had been so frightened by the bare shelves she had seen that morning.

Now, while I would like to take credit for this all, I must say, it was not me … I just did the shopping!

Had God not told me to go to this particular shop, I would not have done so.  Had I not gone, I would not have then felt the nudge to text/call her when I was surrounded by all the abundance. Had I not stopped to listen to her heart felt fears and needs, I would not have known she had those needs. To be honest, as I walked around the shop I felt absolutely moral bound to call her, now I knew her need, to let her know there was so much food.  I had to be sure she would be ok.

It was SO like My Father, to lead me to abundance in a seemingly barren place.

I was blessed, because I was able to purchase for my home, but as I did I could also do His shopping for the one that was on His heart. Both Miss A and I were blessed.

In a nut shell, I bundled the items up, and dropped them to the studio when I collected my daughter. Miss A’s teenagers would have enough protein to keep dancing and the family would have some fresh food for at least the next few days.

After this I knew to step back again. To have kept shopping for her like that would have made her feel embarrassed. I obey, and wait for the next nudge. It is in this way God releases (albeit through a pretty broken vessel by now) His goodness.

She knew I had been praying for them all.

Her needs were met for the day, and I continue to pray for her and all the studio staff in the days to come, purely and simply because …

God is so very Good!

Please – if you have a story of stopping and serving in this time of challenge, big or small, share it below, or message me so I can share it because it glorifies God to have His goodness shared, and in the testimony is the power to call upon His name to “do it again Lord.” If we all just stop for the one as we go, global wide, people will taste and see that God is Good!