Posts Tagged With: spirituality

God’s ways are higher

The grief we witness here on a regular basis is at times overwhelming, but on the other hand, having the people of Central Australia as a part of our lives, and the way we have been embraced, and the stories we have been told, which we otherwise would never have known have far outweighed the sorrow. Our opportunities to share of God’s love with their families are wonderful, but when people share with us their journey of faith and their wisdom we are bestowed treasures.

What I wouldn’t give to see these wonderful ladies and men healed so they could return to their families and their homes, and we pray and believe for that to happen. But God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

I hear a lot about the latest catch cry ‘on earth as in heaven’ and what people think that means like bringing our idea of perfection here and all people are healed etc… well I think it is possibly deeper than that. Healings are great yes, prosperity is comfortable yes… but gold comes through the fire and is refined… and is lasting… perhaps on earth as it is in heaven is more about our will bending to His, our ambitions being set aside for His, and our ways, not taking precedence of His…Things will not be perfect this side of heaven and God is not interested in us taking glory for ourselves and becoming a big name, he is interested in matters of the heart… persecution came on the early church because they needed to spread the word… perhaps sometimes our earthly suffering is sometimes the same…God giving opportunity for us to expand our reach…I know I would maybe have never met these people if they were not here in town… and I see that even in the midst of sickness and suffering, that they are making an impact on the lives of others… on my life… by being here… I am by no means saying that God is a sadistic god who uses our suffering for his gain… I’m just thinking on how God utilises these things in our lives to bring about his purposes…all this to say… I am thankful for my richer life and the different perspectives I am seeing because of the life of the people I have met…

I do get glimpses of ‘on earth as it is in heaven’ but not usually how one would expect: it’s by looking in people’s eyes and hearing their heartbeat.alice-springs-pictures-3

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Rupert (Wapa-wapa) Goodwin

(Please note that this post contains pictures of deceased persons).

Last week, another friend of ours passed away. I remember one day when we had not long arrived and one of my friend’s mum just said ‘you will know grief well around here’. How true and sad that statement is. Once again, this man was close to little maku (my youngest) who prayed for him daily and wanted to go in to say goodbye before Mr Goodwin got to go and be with Jesus. Zion had a dream the night before Mr Goodwin passed away that the angel of death had come, which was interesting.

Rupert knew the stories of the Bible very well and loved to share  them, actually he just loved to share any kind of story. Especially stories about when he was a ranger. I’ll never forget the first time I went into his home in Indulkana and the first thing he wanted me to see was the picture of him as a much younger and handsome (his words :-)) man standing with Uluru behind him. It was a fantastic shot and it had been used as an advertisement for tourism. He would talk all day with us if we had the time, and in particular my father and Ben spent countless hours with him having a great chat and prayer.

Rupert had a tough life, but it was a story of survival from start to finish, and he never lost his sense of humour. Rupert was one of the first people we met when we arrived in Alice and was probably the quickest person to warm to us as a family apart from his sister, Sarah. (She passed away last year and you can read about it  here in earlier posts on this site also here). He had a love for Hawaiian shirts and cowboy hats with bright feathers. One day I will share the story of his sister rescuing him when he was a baby.

He treasured his wife Yula and his children. He carried a photo of Yula around in his wallet and would show anyone he could and say and show how beautiful his wife was. She is a wonderful lady and is of course finding this time tough, she was with him when he passed and she had beautiful moments in his last couple of days to play songs they had treasured and just sit and chat with him.

I am not sure of Rupert’s exact age, but I am pretty sure he is around my father’s age. It is pretty sobering to see renal failure take its toll on people. Although we will miss Mr Goodwin, we are glad that he had a relationship with Jesus Christ and so he is once again able to run around, and enjoy God’s creation in heaven. On earth, life was getting pretty tough, but now he is free and well and reunited with his sister. Please pray for his family at this time of sadness, and pray for those that don’t know the Father who loves them, that they will have an encounter with Him during this time. Thank you.

20130215_165719 Mr Goodwin and Ronald 001

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the eyes have it

God is moving. well actually, He never stops moving, we just become more aware of the fact sometimes.

At the moment, He seems to be particularly interested in eyes. A couple of weeks ago, whilst praying with a lady from church at a connect group she had healing to her eyes. Hopefully you can read below….Image

And then, this Sunday we were just about to start our Sunday worship service and a lady who was singing who needs glasses to read any print, kept taking her glasses off and cleaning them because she couldn’t see the print properly, it was all foggy… after a couple of times she looked at the sheet without her glasses, and could see the words perfectly. She put her glasses back on. foggy. took them off. Clear.

Her eyesight was healed! Saw her this morning, and she’s pumped about reading her Bible without her glasses…

Seems like it’s a season for eyes to be healed. And just like in the natural, so it often is in the spiritual.

Last Sunday morning, there was an amazing time in the Sunday School room. We were teaching on how Peter and John were on their way to the temple and were asked by a lame man for money, but money they didn’t have… but because of Jesus… when they prayed, the man was healed and began to walk and leap and praise God. We then shared the stories that are happening around us and that when they say yes to the Holy Spirit and Jesus working in their lives the same things can happen with them when they pray. Their spiritual eyes were opening…

The children were  all (miracle in itself)  standing, worshiping God, and we asked if they wanted prayer to close their eyes and put their hands out. Well they all wanted prayer and waited as we went round from child to child. All were touched by the Holy Spirit and a few after were saying they felt really wobbly on their feet as we were praying. I look forward to hearing what miracles Jesus does through these children as they step out in faith….

Exciting times.

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the heart and Body

Alice is literally in the centre of Australia, and some have gone so far to say it’s the heartbeat. So if it’s where the heartbeat of our nation is at, then we had better look after it, as I’m pretty sure the heart is a vital part of us sustaining life. Right? 😉

People come and go from this place, some unmoved by the atmosphere but loving the landscape and blue skies, others disillusioned by the hardness and dreams lost and buried here. Others are awakened here… they sense the heartbeat calling them in, drawing them in to new things and adventures untold and the deep wells of spiritual wealth in this place… and so they come. For a short while or long. Some fly in for a whirlwind tour to scout the land and feel their way and encounter new things. Others leave everything behind and come to sow their lives- some last that out, others leave from the sheer magnitude of life in the desert with its challenges and obstacles and tireless needs.

Over the last month, we have encountered many new faces and some old long-time friends who have all been drawn to this wonderful place our family have come to call home, and the exciting thing is, they have all sensed the same thing. God is doing a new thing. He is preparing the soil for a new and fresh outpouring of his Spirit and His body (His church) are getting hungry, and are awakening from their slumber and listening to the call for harvesters. Some are finding their feet and where they fit in with what God is doing here.

This week in particular we have had visits from some beautiful people who have encouraged our souls and prayed with and for us. This prayer and worship time was refreshing and just what I needed and didn’t know it. The body of Christ was doing its job. Edifying one another and spurring one another on. The coolest thing about it, was that these people were unknown to me. We were connected by our love for Christ and a love for people. The rest naturally followed. I am very aware that we often get caught up in the natural world we live in and forget about how the spiritual or supernatural is intricately intertwined in our lives… but as Watchman Nee said we are spiritual people having a natural experience, not the other way around. When we walk with God close, our lives don’t look the same as others. Our cravings are different from others, and we find ourselves in awesome experiences and being a part of naturally-supernatural moments.

The body of Christ is an amazing family, that reaches far past our nationality, language, culture and family ties. Jesus binds us together, that we can feel connected to a believer whose baby needs prayer in the Philippines, to an Indigenous man riding his horse over Australia to reach people for Jesus, and to a bunch of Koreans who come and sing and pray at your house just because they love the Lord and were obedient to His call. This body is made up of a bunch of once unruly, misfits, thieves, slanderers, murderers etc who have now laid down their former lives and said yes to the gift of life from Jesus Christ… a motley crew who, with warts and all, God chooses to outwork his grand plan of giving people opportunity to once again commune with him.

I love this body, and thank God I’m in Alice, where I get to see all these people come in, wanting to be a part of the heartbeat of Australia, be a part of its call and where I get to see daily, my God at work in ordinary people who are willing to lay down their lives for the sake of Jesus. I believe as we lay aside our own agendas and how we think things should pan out, we’ll see God weaving his tapestry and we’ll begin to flow in time with Him and see even greater things than we can imagine. This heartland of Australia will begin to beat in time with His heart and bring healing first here and then flow on and on.

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Hinds feet on high places

I read a book when I was a teenager that was like the chick version of Pilgrim’s Progress. I loved it, and the images the words brought to life have stuck with me even though it has been years since I have read them.

Today, I climbed Mt Gillen, the base is a few minutes drive from our home. Ben has done it a few times with some friends before, but I’m always reluctant to go with a crowd as I know I’ll be the one that slows the progress. I enjoy the walk, and somewhat the climb, but maybe I’m just a tad, no ok, quite scared of falling, slipping, getting stuck somewhere and not being able to get down. So I have declined before. But today there were no excuses. Mum and Dad generously babysat the children, and Ben and I began our ascent.

There is only one part that you could really call ‘mountain climbing’ and for those of you that are regular climbers, or adventure junkies you would find me quite amusing saying that I’m excited to have reached the summit. (I was more worried about how I was going to get down). The last leg is the hardest, which brings me to what I really want to share about here.

We all face mountains in our journey on this earth. Some of us, say to that mountain ‘move’ and it does and you continue on your journey. Others of us, reach the hard part of the climb and shy away and head off on a different path, trying our best to go around the mountain. Still others of us, (myself at times included), begin the ascent and find ourselves ok until we look down or back and then freeze in fear as we see how far we have to fall if we slip (this most possibly was me for a moment on my way up the mountain today 🙂 ). We have three choices here. 1. We can stay where we’re at and wait for the birds of prey to come and find us.2.  We can go back down and find another way (possibly harder than the first way we try). Or 3. we can pull ourselves together and make ourselves continue up. Scary, but the elation when you reach the summit is wonderful, made even greater by the scariness of the climb. You didn’t let it defeat you.

The book I mentioned before is based on the verse in Psalms 33:18:

He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places.

We can try to climb on our own and the going will be tough. We will have to try to find the right path and make it through the ascent alone. Or, we can choose to walk with someone who has walked the path before, who knows The Way, who gives out His hand when it’s time to climb straight up and reach the high places, Someone who encourages us to continue on when we feel like we can’t make it. Someone who not only barracks for us but has walked this very journey before and knows the mountains we’re facing of betrayal, of hurt, of pain, of generational curses etc… Jesus says ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life’.  He is also the guide and friend we all need on this mountainous journey we all walk. He may not always move the mountain aside, but he is there to guide us over. If we’ll let him. A friend of mine recently shared:

a lie I believed for so long was that I was alone. I knew it in my head to be wrong but I was blinded.

In the book, Hinds Feet on High Places, sometimes the girl’s companion was Sorrow, and Suffering, but these were not companions called to stay. When she embraced these companions they took her closer to the summit where she received her prize of having feet like a deer where she could reach the high places. Today, I climbed in the natural, but I was very aware of the mountains that God has been dealing with me in the spiritual and emotional. Are you facing any mountains today? I pray you are highly aware of the hand of our Jesus to navigate you to be ‘above the circumstances’ instead of ‘under’.

half way up Mt Gillen

half way up Mt Gillen

 

The Top

The Top- not my own photo

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Jesus healing

On Wednesday we have a bible study for some new Christians in our church, this particular week for different reasons we only had one lady show up, and so rather than do the formal study we asked if there was anything she would like to know about. She said that she wanted to know more about the story from the kid’s talk on Sunday which was on the theme ‘i want more’. We discussed the passage about the woman who came to Jesus persisting he listen to her. From there we talked of her family and how God had been moving in their lives and she told us of her brother-in-law’s sister who was staying with them at the moment. This lady has been bedridden. She has so much pain in her back she even eats lying down. She had tried everything from doctors to witch doctors and other healing methods, but she hadn’t encountered Jesus. So we shared the story from Acts 19 where Paul prayed over some handkerchiefs and aprons and the people got healed.

We asked her if she wanted us to do this for this lady, she was keen but had nothing of hers with her. so, we prayed over a tissue and believed that as our friend took it home the lady would be healed.

And she was… Our wonderful Jesus, showed up.

She is now sitting up and eating, and the pain is gone! Others in the family wanted to touch the tissue to get a touch, but we know there’s nothing special about a tissue… it’s the power of Jesus, alive and real today, working through his people, who are asking and open to his touch. And then that faith being transferred to others because they see a powerful God at work, who is intimately involved with our everyday lives and struggles.

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Baptisms

Today we baptised 17 people who are a part of our church. To watch the people who chose today to be baptised as an act of obedience to their Lord Jesus was wonderful. The age range was from 7 years old to 60 something!  I am in awe that I have been privileged to be a part of their spiritual journey so far. They come from such varied backgrounds and all have their story to tell of how they came to be where they are today. I could hardly contain my excitement. One lady, who has to use a walker was so adamant she was getting baptised. She had asked me a couple of months earlier and I was so excited when she entered the water today. It was difficult, it was a ‘swallow the pride’ moment as she worked to get into the pool, and yet she was so determined. She loves her Jesus, and you can tell. Her face just beams.

She has become a good friend of mine. She was one of the first ladies I met when I arrived here. Her name is Maggie.

Maggie and I

Maggie and I

Maggie baptism

maggie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She lives in a hostel here in town as she needs renal dialysis 3 times a week and so it is impossible for her to return home for long periods of time. She started following Jesus last year, we prayed together on a day in October and she has been a different Maggie since. She is sometimes in a lot of pain, but when we pray together, the pain dissipates. I don’t understand why God hasn’t healed her completely, but she keeps coming to Him, and asks for prayer. These people are my heroes. Many of them face such adversity, and yet they continue on. Their God carries them.

It was a special day today. There were salvations and baptisms. People that had never come to church before but got on the church bus, chose to follow Jesus. And are keen to begin doing Bible Studies. Tears were flowing. Hearts were changing. The Holy Spirit was so strong I could hardly stand whilst I was praying for people. Exciting times. All I can say, is I feel blessed to be a part of God at work and say “more Lord, More!!”

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Faith like a child

My eldest fell sick. He had a horrible rash a headache and bad stomach cramps all of a sudden. He couldn’t get up from bed or it got worse. Zion came up and put his hand on him and started to pray. Ben didn’t know this and was talking to Josiah, so Zion said “would you be quiet and close your eyes, I am praying for Elijah” and then he continued. The prayer went something like this… “God can you heal Elijah so he can get up and play with me and so he doesn’t feel sick in his tummy or his head anymore, thank you Jesus Amen”. Well within five minutes Elijah were up, temperature gone, headache gone, and stomach ache gone, and he wanted breakfast. I can hear him singing and playing in the background now as I write!

Zion is often praying. He is quick to lay hands on people he meets if he sees they are hurt or sick and he always expects God will come through for them. My little 4 year old is a reminder to me of coming to God as a little child. Not with eloquent words, but words from the heart that in turn touch His heart. Our God loves us all, but I think He has a soft spot for little ones… 🙂

 

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relief

The following is the lyrics of a song I penned whilst sitting at the edge of  Todd Mall. Every now and then I get this sense that the Holy Spirit wants to share with me something and I’m going to need to write it down. I had been asking God to show me what is going on with the people I had been seeing and watching (I am a people watcher, it is a hobby of mine, I love it. It was honed when I was at acting school). This song is not my feelings, but the sense I got from the people I saw that day as I sat at the edge of the mall. Maybe one day you will hear the tune, and maybe not. An extremely rough version is recorded on my phone so I don’t forget it. I don’t often share my lyrics, but after some events today that I am not at liberty to share, I found them relevant.

Want some relief

But don’t expect me to change

Want some water for my thirst

But not enough to quench it

Can’t resolve to take the leap

that would place me in the River

In that healing place

Would rather drown in my sorrows

Get lost in my pain.

 

Find myself all alone

In a place full of people

In a sea full of faces

Wont take the leap to that flowing water ….

 

It’s just the way it’s always been

It’s just the way I’ve always done

Life

trying to find it

trying to hide from it

trying to

breathe

want to start living

want to start believing

but do I dare to take

a chance

What if I fall

completely down

Who’s going to catch me

if I fall

completely down

I am interested to see how God through His Holy Spirit woos these people. How many times have I been scared to trust or hope because at least I know the pain. When we used to work at Teen Challenge we saw many people who just wanted relief. It is quite often the same here.

 But GOd wants to do more than that. He wants to change us from the inside out and heal the pain and get rid of our excess baggage. He wants us to LIVE not just exist. Jesus came so we can have life to the full.

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Miracles are beginning to flow

Last night (Thursday) we went for our usual visit to a local hostel. The only difference being Ben wasn’t able to come, but my Mum and Dad rocked up which was nice. So the boys and I headed there, picking up a bus load of friends on the way around and went and sung and shared the Bible as per usual. Then we began to pray for those who needed prayer. Some had headaches, some chest pain, and some aching legs and feet. As we laid hands on them, I could feel that God was at work (as He always is , just sometimes I fail to notice 🙂 ). The first lady I prayed for had strong chest pain- but as we prayed it stopped! We prayed for about 5 people that night and all of them said the pain was gone! Not just then, but still was gone when we left. You should have seen the smiles on their faces as God touched them. Praise our God hey. He loves His people and loves to work in signs and wonders.

I rejoice that He is touching  His people. I believe however, this is just the start. There is a lady there that needs to go in for an operation on her eyes. Well we prayed and are believing that her eyes will be healed and there will be no need for an operation. The people we visit on Thursday nights need lots of new things some need: new kidneys, new hips, new legs, new eyes. I know that for some they will have to wait until they reach heaven for these, but I do believe that God wants to heal people now. I trust that we will see the day soon where our friends here on dialysis will need it no more and they can return to their homes (some very far away) and they will be a testimony that our God is a MIRACLE WORKING GOD. We don’t want miracles for miracles sake. We want testimonies that we can share of what the power of our Jesus can do through the Holy SPirit in peoples lives. We want a new generation to experience God in the same tangible way that we have, and more. It is what we all need. It will bring transformation.

Rejoice with me, at the healings that are happening… but please PRAY to our Living God, that we will continue to see His Living Water flow and touch the lives of those we meet. Thank you for joining with us.

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