Archive for January, 2009

Childlike spirit

Friday, January 30th, 2009 by Mark

When we first came across this we were living in Germany where this was called ‘kindlicher Geist’ and it was a major and very powerful thing when Germans were able to be free and operate in a Childlike Spirit before God. This is not a childish Spirit, but childlike where there is great freedom and inhibition in God, it is wonderful to behold. Of course it is powerful for people of any nationality, when people abandon their preconceived ideas and themselves and don’t worry about how they look or how they might be perceived, but operate in faith wanting to experience God in new and powerful ways, it takes faith and it takes humility.

I heard this at a whole new level when I was listening to reports of what happened at the Azuza st revival in America. They were talking about the presence of God entering the meetings and kids would be running around and playing with the presence, this sounds so right to me and what I know of God. While this was happening healings would take place and we are talking about limbs growing back here, whole legs or feet would just grow back right before people’s eyes, the blind would see the deaf would hear. As I was listening to this wonderful report of people being so close to God, I believe God spoke to me about the approach that He loves people to have when they come to Him and when they want Him to come.

I’m sure we all agree that there is just awesome power and it is an absolutely wonderful thing to experience the presence of God. But why do people want to experience the presence of God. WIIFT What’s in it for them. Here is where I believe the Lord whispered to me that He is looking for pure hearts and childlikeness.

When we come to God it shouldn’t be because we want ‘good worship’ or because we want to be known as people who ‘dwell with God’. It shouldn’t even be because we want to see healingings, or even because we want to see people saved. Desiring God’s presence should be for the sake of His presence, to be with Him.(It’s OK to desire God’s presence, it just isn’t Ok to want His presence just for the ‘stuff’ you gotta want Him.) In other words we shouldn’t desire God for what He will do for us or our reputation, we should only desire the presence for the presence, think of it in terms of a human to human relationship, if you are just in a relationship for the benefits and what you can get from it then the other person is very quickly likely to pick up on your motives. It is the same with God, He of course knows what is in our hearts. I’m not talking about being perfect here but I know that in my relationship with God I want to be a lover and His bride, I want to love Him for Him.

I have just re read this and I feel I have missed something important here, there are many times when I have gone to God, desperate for His touch or a word or some encourgement, God loves it when His children come to Him and it is a huge truth that we can come to Him at any time. I just wanted this blog to be a reminder of the power of a childlike spirit, and how much I want to come to Him with no agenda from Him.

Revelation

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 by Mark

We have a new category.

Revelations about God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit: A place to Blog your revelations about God, either in Tabernacle spaces or from the Word or wherever.

We love talking about how Big and Good and wonderful that He is, so please share your revelations and their circumstances here.

A Tabernacle experience I didn’t have

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 by katy

Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. For He bruises but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole” (Job 5:17&18)

I have had an extraordinary night. It is after 2am in the morning but I felt I must write about it. Over the last few days I have been very busy with many people in my life who are in need. It feels like I have been rushing from one thing to another. Tonight I was at my father’s house with my husband and our boys having dinner. I dropped my husband and children off there first and went to a family who lived close by. They are an Aboriginal family who I worked with as their counsellor over the last 2 years. I still see them when they need support even though I don’t work at the workplace I was at. I dropped my family at my father’s and went to see them. The woman who was my client had her birthday yesterday and had communicated to me that she needed a “yarn” (talk). I had advocated to child protection just a year ago that this woman get custody of her daughter who was self harming in a small Aboriginal community in Western Australia. The daughter had come to live with her mother and I stood in awe of God as I watched Him provide for them. Not only had I seen them access housing; God had provided a scholarship for schooling for the daughter at a very prestigious girls grammar school in an expensive area of Melbourne. I watched the young woman blossom and excel in drama. More excitingly, Jesus sparked a fire in their hearts and over the year, I watched on as they become passionate lovers of Him. I worked very closely with them and got to know their stories of past trauma very intimately. It seemed God was replacing trans-generational cycles of drug and alcohol abuse, family violence, sexual abuse and trauma with healing, reconciliation, “a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). But tonight, I sat down with the woman for a cuppa (cup of tea) and she told me that her 17 year old had something to tell me. The daughter told me that she is going to have a baby-resulting from their returning home over Christmas and to an old boyfriend. I spent most of the next hour listening to their plans, fears, their concerns, embarrassment and stories about what Jesus has been showing them. Interestingly, I had felt the Holy Spirit tell me that the daughter was involved with sexual sin the week before when I went to pick them up from the airport. Despite the ‘warning’ my heart was still heavy with the news of her pregnancy. It seemed they had come so far and that this was a major setback. We prayed together and I left them to return to my dad’s house where my family was.

My dad, step mother and their 3 teenage children were also at my dad’s when I arrived. Not long after I had finished eating my dinner (that had gone cold waiting for me to return) my 17 year old sister approached me, asking me if I would like to go into the city to watch the Australia Day fireworks. My 19 year old sister Rachael and some of her friends were also attending. I knew in a moment that there was a ‘rightness’ about me going with them but soon that small ‘yes’ in my spirit was drowned out with pictures of crowds in the city, my busy previous days and thoughts of the next few days that will also be busy. It is rare that my sister asks much of me at all and I could feel her eyes on me as I looked down to give my answer. She really wanted me to come and as I said ‘no’ I felt so wise, cocky and ‘aren’t I good for not getting sucked into busyness’.

Along with the news of the pregnancy of the daughter of my Aboriginal friend, in the car on the way home my husband made an innocent joke that triggered a deep pain in me, relating to a burden I have carried for a long time in my heart-to be pregnant with a daughter. A fierce determination rose up in me to get answers from God on this matter. I had carried this burden for a year or more and was ready to hear some solid direction from the Lord- was it supposed to be or not? I wept on the way home and as soon as we were in the door I started getting changed. I had been ‘welcomed’ to use Mark and Helen’s Tabernacle space to be with God and this was the night! It was close to 9pm after I had showered my children and put them to bed, but I was not going to leave that lovely space until God had shed some light on this thing I had been hurting about for so long. The leaving my home and making a journey to a specific place to meet with God, was, to me like a sign to God that I was ‘for real’. I text messaged Helen’s mobile, asking to use the space and didn’t get a reply. I tried to ring and no answer. I told my husband who was in full support of me going and he said “why don’t you drive over there and see what happens- bring your mobile”. When I got there I could see lights on- a good sign they weren’t a sleep, so I gently approached the door and knocked softly. Mark came to the door and explained that when he and Helen had prayed about me coming that night that God had said “no…it’s a timing thing. We didn’t know how to tell you, so decided not to text. It’s a bit awkward now that you’re here, but no. I hope you understand”. I didn’t. I left promptly, feeling so embarrassed and confused “God, what are you doing?” I got home, lay on the couch and waited. Helen had texted me to say ‘sorry’ and it wasn’t until an hour or so later that I was released to text her back “It’s ok”. As I sat there God slowly revealed to me why… The plan I had- to go there and talk to Him about ‘that thing’- wasn’t His plan. His plan for me tonight had been for me to spend time with my sisters. The Holy Spirit reminded me of the moment that He had revealed His desire for me to go with them “Remember that dear one. Remember that feeling.” Tears streamed as I realised I had missed it. I had rationalised away a divine appointment. There were good reasons not to go, but the Holy Spirit wants me to be sensitive to His promptings. I realised I had made a god out of creating space. He revealed to me that there will be days on end that it feels like I have one thing after another, but then there will be days to stop. Do I not trust Him to provide? Am I willing to be manoeuvred by the winds of His seasons? -Some fuller than others.

Had I come home and gone with my plan to pray about my issue and everything had fallen into place, I would have failed to be aware of that particular moment that I quenched the Holy Spirit -and most likely would have continued to do so… and might still? (Please God, no). I know if Mark and Helen had not prayed and chose to let me use that space, I would have met with God. -Because He is in there. But I could imagine I may have been so caught up in the love of who He is and dwelling in His presence in ‘my’ way-the way I wanted to, that I probably would have completely missed his point about timing and about what He actually had planned for me to do tonight- being with my sisters. I submit this to you; don’t assume God wants you in the Tabernacle. Ask Him first (or you might get embarrassed!) “I do want to speak with you about that thing. But just not tonight. There was another thing for you to do.” Also, Tabernacle is a space for God, so don’t be with Him there for what He can do for you. Be with Him for what you can do for/to Him. Don’t approach Tabernacle to get answers or to get anything- or with any other agenda (unless He gives you one).

Firstly tonight, He was showing me that I need to trust my ability to hear His voice, despite the circumstances that may be opposed to His direction. I tried to go to sleep a couple of hours ago but God has kept peeling the layers off the onion that is my soul and showing me more about the significance of what happened tonight! Last night, our 3 year old had woken up in the middle of the night and Daniel and I had got into an argument. Tired out, I had said to him: “I do want to speak to you about it but just not now”. It was a timing thing. God had given me an insight into how He feels, so secondly He was also showing me that He has prepared me for this night. He showed me a dream I had of Helen last week, on Thursday night. We were on a busy street outside an ATM and she was telling me “I won’t do to you what others have done” she hugged me and I knew that she was talking about rejection. Thirdly, God was shining light on brokenness that remains in me, that still needs healing. -Brokenness from my family of origin. -Remnants of anger and jealousy of my dad’s family from his second marriage. Anger left behind that maybe helped me to feel good about rejecting my sister’s request to go with them tonight- my opportunity to have power (cringe). There is so much God is showing me. He is doing a major clean up work in me. I’m weeping. It hurts, but I trust Him. He is a good Dad and He disciplines those He loves. It’s with this softness and humility that I will next approach my God in the Tabernacle- the place He dwells.

My tabernacle experience

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 by katy

I was unsure where to blog in this website as I’m thinking that what I’m sharing includes all 3 categories- my tabernacle experiences over the last fortnight- which has included setting up one at home – but also contributing to the ongoing discussions. What a great resource and encouragement this site is!

A new journey in God began a number of weeks ago for me now and I have struggled to put words on what has happened. Doesn’t that speak of how big and uncontainable God is and the experiences we have with Him? Words aren’t enough.

Busy and Dry
The life giving breath of the Holy Spirit has recently come afresh into my life to awaken me and bring change. Despite seasons gone by of passion for God, my spiritual life has been very sleepy and reeking of apathy for quite some time. I didn’t know how disconnected and distracted from God I had become until He visited with me like He did. My husband and I have experienced much change in the natural realm since we were married 8 years ago. Change including study, moving interstate, two babies, a grieving process and this year in particular, both of us in changeable, demanding work positions while moving into and renovating the current house we are living in. Both of us have also continued in ministry positions at our local church. My busy, tired life was like death and dryness to my heart- its landscape mirroring the drought stricken land here in Australia.

Cleaning Out
My children and I attend a play group with the local mums (mainly church families) once a week. It was in this setting I first met Helen and her son, Joel-Mark, newcomers to our group. I enjoyed talking with Helen over the weeks, but there was something I found very unsettling about this new woman. I felt ‘squirmy’. I didn’t recognise this as God and the only thing I could put it down to was that there was a new mum in mums group and she had an ‘affect’ on me. Determined to understand more about why I felt this way I asked Helen and Joel-Mark to come and visit at my house one morning. The first thing I did as they walked up the stairs to my front door, was point out to them the massive pile of rubbish my husband had been pulling out from under the house- old heating systems, plaster, old toys, dust, rubbish… It was all sitting there at the side of the house and my youngest son had been unwell with terrible coughing at night and tummy problems as a lot of dust had been stirred up. Helen walked in and recognised the music I had playing, naming the singer and telling me that it was prophetic of the work we had been doing in cleaning out the house. As they left, Helen prayed for our family speaking words about the work we were doing in cleaning out the space for God to fill. Like a response, I went into auto mode with my deadened mind and blurted out words in the form of a prayer that felt quite empty. Then something rose up in me and I said “We love You Jesus”. My spirit had prayed it, and my mouth had gone along with it. Helen agreed with the prayer “Yes” and I sensed the Holy Spirit present in a moment. Out on the driveway, saying goodbye, Helen felt to lend me a Misty Ewards CD. I listened to it all afternoon and the music and lyrics were so life giving. I opened myself up to hungering after God again, my spirit inclining toward the warmth of God like a flower does to the sun. That same night, there was a big rain outside and I started to vomit like I never have before. This continued for 3-4 hours every 10 minutes. As I was lying in my bed listening to the rain outside and feeling very unwell, I had the sense that God was doing something big. The next day I woke up as though nothing had happened. I was not sick at all.

Listening to God
Over the next two days I kept playing the Misty Edwards music playing in my home and car and by Saturday night God’s presence was lingering with me. I spent some time reading on the Tabernacle website and my hunger for God increased. Late on Saturday night I tried to get ready to go to bed when I heard God say “There have been seeds that have fallen onto dead soil”. I was leading with the worship team at church the next morning and knew I should get to bed. I climbed in and tried to sleep, but God continued pouring His word into my heart. He showed me other people experiencing His presence again, a great awakening among the people of God. He told me He was coming like the rain and that He would bring the substance of our hearts back to life as the rain does the substance of the earth. I saw a returning to our first love. Jesus!! I saw fresh ears, fresh eyes, fresh hearts feeling alive again to God’s presence, aching to be with Him and to see Him- years of a dormant crop taking affect. I felt God arousing His people to places of faith again: faith in a yet to be seen harvest, a harvest people had given up on. I was up that night until 3am praying and listening to God. I tried to go to sleep only to be awoken by His voice. I mentioned it to my pastor who then released me to share my experience with the church. As I spoke about the rain of God, it rained outside.

Tabernacle
That same afternoon I got home from church and I was overcome by an overwhelming desire to clean up. I found myself moving furniture and clearing space. I shuffled, cleaned and prayed while the worship music played. I didn’t know what I was doing until I felt God instructing me to put one half of our lounge room aside for Him- a tabernacle; a dwelling place for His presence. I was raised in and met Jesus in the Catholic Church, and therefore the notion of sacred spaces was familiar to me. It felt very natural to return to my first love in this way. In the Catholic Church a tabernacle is a place where the Eucharist (Jesus manifest in the communion bread) is stored and I remember my dad taking me to mass as a little girl and reminding me to genuflect towards the tabernacle as I entered a church.

Change
It’s been nearly 3 weeks since that day God took up residence here and there has been huge change in my house and in my family and I. God has given me opportunities to pray for people to be healed (perhaps they were always there and I just didn’t recognise them)… and He’s released me to share the hunger He has given me with other people. The biggest change however, is in the way I am with God and what He does with me in that space on my lounge room floor. Prayer and reading the bible has gone from being a chore to a delightful feast, so much so I sometimes choose prayer over food and sleep. His word has been coming alive to me and stories I’ve carried with me since childhood are becoming real and life giving (like the dormant harvest I saw springing forth with the rain of God). I’ve revisited the Old Testament and God’s relationship with His beloved Israel again- as though for the first time. I’m aware of the word in my heart and sensing God’s eye on me as one of His chosen people who He’s longing to be with, like Moses, Jonah, Joseph and David. I feel called and purposeful and approved of. Jesus of the gospels is also captivating me again. That I- in all my uncleanness could minister to Him. That He would enjoy me and what I do to Him. That I could do anything to Him! That He would even notice! The exchange of love I am blessed with in God’s presence is something I can’t begin to describe.

The Flesh
There continue to be busy days in my family life and time with God can get neglected. It’s in those times I realise with despair how quickly and easily I take back control of my life. Just as the housework piles up, so too does the house work in my heart. How quickly the filth of the flesh builds. The dirty washing, dishes, thoughts… I can see why Paul needed to “pray without ceasing”. On one occasion soon after my God encounter begun, I realised just how little space there was for this big God in my full life. He has a lot of work to do in my unclean heart and that takes time. I felt a free falling sensation and a bit out of control. Gripping at the sides I attempted to plan how I might return to normality and structure- how I might fit God in. It was like a default mechanism I returned to after years of bad habits, but all the while God was gracious and every few nights I would rise in the dark and spend intimate hours with Him, usually in the book of Psalms.

Him
Even when I wander He gently pursues me and draws me back in toward Himself and all I can do is lay there allowing Him to. This week has been interesting as just when I don’t think I can hold anymore in, He ushers me in again revealing another layer of His grace and glory until there’s no more room and I have to shed layers of myself just to be. One morning I woke up early with Psalm 63 on my heart where it says “…Your love is better than life” and the Holy Spirit resounding in me “Do you really believe that? What then are you willing to sacrifice in response to this- if that’s true?” Later that day, I was ministered to by Misty Edwards singing “Letting go of the mountain view, letting go- but what into?” and I felt like Mary pondering all these things in my heart, wondering what all this means and where it’s all going. What would it be like for me to live as the Israelites and not move until that cloud moved and not stop until that cloud stopped? The relinquishing of my self and my life as it was, to be with Him.

Dead men, see God…

Friday, January 2nd, 2009 by Helen

“Then the churches had rest throughout all Judea & Galilee & Samaria, & were edified; & walking in the fear of the Lord, & in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, were multiplied.”
Acts 9:31

These words has been echoing in my spirit for some weeks now… “Walking in the fear of the Lord & in the comfort of the Holy Spirit”.

How differently we walk, when we do so knowing the fear of the Lord! I have observed in my own life & in the lives of others, that there is a very different way of walking after experiencing the terrifying, sobering reality we call the ‘fear of the Lord.’ Those who have encountered this aspect of the presence of the Lord are never the same again. For it is indeed a terrifying thing, the fire of God (Hebrews 12:28-29). From this moment on, there is a very deep knowing that comes when God will not tolerate our flesh anymore for it reeks of the world, & in his great love, shakes us & delivers us. This is the awesome raw power of our God. A terrifying thing. Only dead men, see God’s face & walk away. God warned Moses this. “No one can see My face & live.” (Ex 33:20) People who have been prepared to be ‘broken & contrite of heart’ (Psalm 51) when God shakes the heavens & the earth, see Him. It takes death to really see Him. They know & have tasted of His holiness, his sacredness. He restores our respect & awe of Him. This is a treasured thing. There are never any regrets the other side of experiencing the fear of God.

At some point in the journey, in the pursuit of the presence of God, we will encounter His holiness… & therefore, our unholiness. If we do not, it is not His presence!

Yet it is those who have encountered the fear of God, that also know the incredible undeserved comfort of the Holy Spirit. The sweetness, the amazing gentle but honest comfort of the Holy Spirit. With the raw power & uncompromising holiness comes a tenderness, a comfort. Such apparent opposites existing together. When God comes, He messes with our heads & definitions of what is acceptable; what is understandable. Ask Mary! When the Holy Spirit came, she got pregnant. It got messy for Mary. How people talked & what a headache for Joseph! Who would believe that a young girl, engaged to be married was made pregnant by God!!! Yet in the midst of all the mess, was the comfort of the Holy Spirit. To both Mary & Joseph, this came through angels. Keep an eye out for feathers! Since May 2008, we have been experiencing feathers appearing in our house, our clothes, all kinds of places. In Bethel Church USA, feathers have been falling from the steal Basketball stadium roof where the Church meets, for over 13 years now! God messed with what was acceptable. Opposites exist together. Fear & comfort.

The followers of Jesus walked in the fear of the Lord & the comfort of the Holy Spirit & they were edified & found rest. There is such amazing rest, walking in the fear of the Lord & the comfort of the Holy Spirit!