One of my close friends Marlene just returned from attending Harvest School in Mozambique with Mama Heidi of Iris Ministries for ten weeks. When we caught up she was so overcome by the incredible experience that she was almost in tears from it all on the phone. I was so hungry to glean the pearls from her experience and so I asked her to try share some with me and asked if I could share them. I wanted to learn about what Jesus was doing in Mozambique. I was so touched by what she shared…
She said she learnt to love people for the first time truly like Jesus loves us and commune with Jesus like never before. She learnt to go lower, to love the one, to walk in joy, to be hungrier than ever before for Jesus’ presence and to let go of selfish desires in order to gain the greater passion for God that we were all made for.
She shared that the ten weeks was like a true glimpse of heaven on earth. 24/7 communing with God with worship in several languages and dancing in joy for hours on end in the red dirt. Healings and love being poured out as they humbly went ‘out bush’ into the villages to serve the people with Jesus’ heart. Sitting under the wisdom and teaching of people who had stewarded God’s heart for different nations, pioneered and brought revivals. Weeping as Mama Heidi preached on loving and going lower and then activating this servant heart through doing lowly tasks such as cleaning the latrines. Rolling around on the ground laughing under the power of God’s incredible joy. Filling two full journals as God changed her from the inside out and deposited heaven into her, forever.
As I listened I was moved and challenged by the passion, the resilience, the closeness of their relationship with Jesus, the spiritual hunger and the crazy joy of both the African people and the missionaries living and serving there.
‘If you don’t quit you win’ Heidi shared with my friend. ‘Every day on the mission field is so, so hard but every day God speaks into my heart: If you don’t quit you win, so don’t quit. Quitting is exactly what Satan would want but who would pour out my heart and my love on my people who need it so? But, if you don’t quit you will win!’
As my friend shared Heidi’s words I was so humbled and convicted in my heart about not giving up on God’s dreams that he has placed on my heart and challenged about having a character of perseverance. I wondered how I would go if I was called to live and serve in Africa. I wondered if I would have the resilience to live in such challenging physical circumstances and if I could operate in joy like Heidi so clearly does. Apparently, Heidi says you can’t be in mission without joy, it would slowly kill you. So, joy is super important as I’m learning!
Here in the West
This all started me questioning a lot of things for us here in the West. It made me feel that we are missing something very important here, despite seemingly ‘having everything’.
Where is our character of perseverance and resilience, to fight when things don’t work out, to keep on trying despite setbacks, to keep on loving and stepping forth in faith? Where is our passion and crazy hunger for God and more of Jesus? Where is our fire for changing the world with His intense love?
Are we laid down lovers of our King or are we letting things get in the way of us walking out our destiny? When did we get so bogged down in the everyday life and in counting the cost of following Jesus’ heart and plans for our lives, instead of excited—with God’s excitement for the good fruit and the harvest? Can we catch this fire of loving others radically and loving Jesus with our lives?
Hebrews chapter 12 verse 1 talks about how we need to throw off everything that hinders us to run the race with perseverance. Are we doing this? In 2 Timothy chapter 1, Timothy reminds us to ‘fan into flame God in us and the spiritual gifts God has given us’. Are we operating in the fullness of our gifts and of what God has for us? Do we ask God to blow his Ruach (his breath), on the flame we have to make it grow into a raging fire of passionate love?
Misty Edwards sings in one of her songs, ‘hunger is an escort to deeper things of you’. If we are not hungry, we will not seek God’s face or see change. What would it look like to be a culture and a generation of people who don’t quit, who have perseverance, who don’t let circumstances scare them or flatten them and who keep pressing in anyway? Are we asking to become warriors and people who know how to use the sword of God’s word to win the battles we face daily?
Learn to contend
How can we settle for anything less than what Jesus intended for us? How can we settle for just coasting along, for apathy, for sickness, depression, anxiety, addictions and oppression of any kind, without contending in prayer for the freedom and inheritance that Jesus promised us and came to give us? ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy but I have come that you might have life and have it to the full (in abundance!)’ —John chapter 10 verse 10.
I know that this is a sensitive issue, but as someone who has battled with anxiety myself I can say that I know that I have bad days but I also know the truth that my God is all powerful, never changing, fully able and He can restore, heal, soothe, establish, transform and bring his vindication and goodness to us for all that was stolen and ravaged from the enemy.
He can help us change brain pathways, create new patterns, heal relationships, heal bodies, open doors of destiny, restore fortunes and even birth the new and miraculous. He rebuilds the walls long devastated and gives us hope and purpose in his kingdom (Isaiah chapter 61).
Liana is a creative soul living on the South Coast of Adelaide working as a Personal Assistant and Nanny, songwriting in her spare time and running a creative home fellowship with her husband Justin.
Liana Monaghan’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/liana-monaghan.html
Liana is a passionate and creative soul, living in South Australia and married to her artist husband of 12 years, Justin. Liana is an early childhood educator and also writes, sings, occasionally dances, loves nature, is a psalmist and runs a women's ministry.