Shalom!

Shalom! What an amazing word it is. Do you know the full extent of what it means?

I decided to do some research on it because living in a highly populated Jewish area, I hear people say “shalom” all the time.  As they pass one another on the footpath or in the Deli, they greet each other and say “Shalom”. Then as they finish their conversation, they say it again as they wave goodbye, “Shalom”. 

My research revealed that “Shalom” is far more than just a nice gesture meaning “peace”.

The ancient Hebrew meaning of Shalom  (שלום) is deep and powerful. In fact it is mind blowing! The word itself comes from the Hebrew “shalem” which means “to make good” ; “to make full restitution” ; “to restore” ; “to make whole” and “to make complete”.  I found this to be so interesting!  But I wanted to know more as I wondered how exactly this is to be understood and applied to our lives. So, I kept researching. 

I found many references to “Shalom” in the bible. I discovered that the ancient Hebrew meaning of Shalom means wellness and restoration in the FULLEST possible way.  Shalom extends to:

  • EVERY area of life! This includes …
  • WHOLENESS AND COMPLETENESS of mind, body and spirit. But, not only wholeness of mind, body and spirit, it also extends to …
  • PRACTICAL AND MATERIAL RESTORATION of all that has been lost or stolen. 

I was amazed to learn this! I have been getting my head around the theme of “restoration” of all that has been lost or stolen. Wow! And then I started to remember verses where God talks about himself as our “Restorer”. I could quote many bible references here, but will settle for just one! Joel 2:25 “I will restore to you the years the locusts have stolen”.  That is exactly what the Shalom of God is!! 

Biblical shalom also includes “tranquility and abundance of being.”  Again, this is amazing! We can see from the word “Shalom” that God’s plan for our well-being is beyond anything we can humanly understand or imagine.

Our heavenly Father has  SUPERNATURAL FULLNESS in mind for us, in EVERY area of life – body, soul, spirit AND materially. 

Here are just two bible references which speak of God’s shalom. 

Genesis 43:27 – This is when Joseph, still unrecognized by his brothers, asked them about the well-being of his father.  He said to his brothers “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke?” Is he still alive?” And they answered “Your servant our father is in good health, he is still alive”.  In Hebrew, the word translated as “well-being” “well” and “in good health” is all one word – Shalom.

Judges 6. This is when Gideon had a powerful encounter with an angel. The angel greeted Gideon by saying “Shalom” (which was actually the first time an angel had said “Shalom” to anybody). In this story, you probably remember that Gideon had been very afraid when he saw the angel! However his fear grew even more when the angel gave him his assignment. Gideon certainly did not see himself as a warrior who could fight for Israel! Hence, the angel’s shalom greeting was no doubt on purpose and intended to give Gideon more confidence in who he was and how God saw him. And something else which I find very interesting is that after Gideon’s angelic encounter, he decided to build an altar to worship God and called it “Yahweh Shalom”. In other words, the revelation which Gideon received from the Lord, he erected as a testimony to others. (This is worthy of another blog in itself!)

I hope you are gaining a greater understanding and appreciation of the true meaning of Shalom!  

Last Friday evening (the Sabbath) I popped into the supermarket. As I waited at the register, I noticed the man in front of me. He was Jewish. As he finished paying for his groceries, I caught his eye. I smiled and said “Shabbat Shalom”. I wasn’t sure how he was going to respond. But he beamed back at me and said “Shabbat Shalom!” 

The true meaning of Shalom means so much more than “peace”. It’s purpose is to release SUPERNATURAL restoration of what has been stolen or lost, as well as well-ness of body, soul and spirit, wholeness, abundance, safety, harmony, tranquility and peace. Spoken over someone in faith, it bestows upon them God’s richest desires for their life.  

At this time when there is much turmoil in the world, praying the true Shalom of God over others is a BEAUTIFUL AND POWERFUL BENEDICTION!

I pray God’s Shalom for ALL who are reading this blog. I DECLARE AND PROCLAIM it over your life right now in the name of Yeshua the Messiah. May the richness and the fullness of Father God’s Shalom BE UPON YOU!  Receive it by faith. Amen.

SHALOM!

P.S. Your words are POWERFUL so make a habit of SPEAKING OUT God’s supernatural “Shalom” over those you love.

CAROLYN CONWAY  (B.Min., Dip.Th.,  Certified Life Coach MBCA) Speaker l Trainer l Life Coach for Women

Mobile 0411 152 524 Office (03) 9532 4618

Websites – www.almondtreeministries.com.au (Ministry) www.almondtreecoaching.com (Coaching)

(Would you please consider sharing this post to encourage someone else?)

Have You Forgiven Yourself?

 

Jesus said

“It is finished”

– John 19:30

 

Easter is the reminder of all that Jesus did for us. This Easter, I have thought a great deal about the forgiveness Jesus won for us on the cross. His death paid fully for freedom from sin – the sins of others and also ours.

In this blog, it’s particularly on the subject of “self-forgiveness”. 

I believe that there are times when we “think”  we have forgiven ourselves for certain things, but in reality, we haven’t done this fully. We might have gone through the process “in our head” but that is not the same as doing it at a “heart level”.

When forgiving ourselves “in our heart” hasn’t happened, there are serious consequences for our destiny.

Like what?

I believe that unless we FULLY forgive ourselves, we will SUBCONSCIOUSLY  keep harming ourselves and our future.  We will SUBCONSCIOUSLY not want the best for ourselves. We will SUBCONSCIOUSLY hold ourselves back from having a happy and fully successful life we want. We will SUBCONSCIOUSLY keep hurting ourselves in a myriad of small and “subtle” ways. But in reality, I want to suggest that these self rejections are not so “subtle” at all! Because collectively, they all add up and they begin to erode, steal and destroy the gift of the full and flourishing destiny God wants for us.

 

When you don’t forgive yourself fully, it’s a way of subtly sabotaging your future

I think if we’re honest with ourselves, we SUBCONSCIOUSLY know we are doing this and “punishing” ourselves in some way. The reason we do it is because we SUBCONSCIOUSLY feel we don’t deserve to be happy because of something that’s happened in the past. (You’ll notice I use the word “subconscious” a lot, because the awareness of what we are doing is buried”).

Maybe that “thing” is a big mistake we believe we have made and we shouldn’t have. Or maybe it’s just the sense that we’ve lived below the life we think we could have or should have. This manifest itself in unworthiness and we think we don’t “deserve” God’s best. At the very crux of the problem, is a bigger issue – and that is unforgiveness towards ourselves. Harbouring this in our heart is just as damaging to us (and wrong) as having unforgiveness towards someone else.  

If you resonate with what I am saying, I would love to invite you to  get free of unforgiveness towards yourself this Easter. I mean FULLY forgive yourself in your head AND your heart.

It’s time to allow God’s pure light, love, healing and forgiveness to drench your heart.  Jesus took upon himself our every failure and biggest sin and He did it so you could live a full, free and powerful life. A life of flourishing and living in the fullness of His great plans for you; it’s what He wanted for you as he hung on that cross.

The best way you can give Jesus his full reward is to receive his grace and forgiveness. In fact, who are you not to? Is your sin too great for the pain He bore? Did he not pay enough to forgive you?

THIS IS WHAT WE ARE SAYING IF WE DON’T FULLY FORGIVE OURSELVES FOR EVERY PAST SIN AND REGRET … big and small.

If you relate to what I am saying, I encourage you at this Easter time to deal with your past once and for all. If it helps to find a private place and kneel before your Lord and King, then do that. Confess whatever is on your heart. Lay it all down at the cross until there’s nothing left to say. Then let Jesus remove every chain from your heart.  But don’t get up yet … Not until you fully receive his unconditional forgiveness, immeasurable grace and overwhelming love.

Then choose LIFE! Choose it and LIVE TO THE FULL. And make it a habit to walk in this freedom by declaring God’s truth over your mind. EXPECT God’s blessing and favour upon your future. This is the greatest honor and thanks you could ever give Jesus.

Forgive yourself fully (in your heart) and run free into your destiny.

Carolyn Conway – Author l Trainer l Certified Life Coach (B.Min., Dip.Th.)

Carolyn is the founder of Almond Tree Ministries. She is a speaker and trainer at churches, events and retreats. Her passion is to awaken and activate the body of Christ to be God’s supernatural power and presence in the world. She is known for her prophetic gifting and teaching which awakens hearts, activates dreams and empowers destinies. She is also a mentor and certified Life-Coach empowering women to experience breakthrough and achieve their dreams and goals.

Enquiries: carolyn@almondtreeministries.com.au orOffice (03) 9532 4618

Pick Up Your Mat

When Jesus saw him lying there and realized that he had spent a long time in this condition, He asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

(John 5:6)

I love reading the gospels. I read the story of the man who Jesus healed at the pool of Bethesda recently. Wow! What a miracle. This man had been crippled for 38 years! But this time when I read the story, it wasn’t the miracle of his healing which jumped out at me! It was something entirely different.

To put the story into context, when Jesus found out he had been there for all those years, He was FULL of compassion. He said to the man “Do you want to get well?” The man then explained that he had no one to help him get into the water first when it was stirred. (There was a belief at that time that sometimes an angel would stir the waters, and whoever got into the water first, could then be healed).

Then Jesus said to him “Get up. Pick up your mat and walk”. At once, this man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. (verse 8)

The part of the story which God seemed to highlight to me were the words “PICK UP YOUR MAT AND WALK”.

Pick up your mat” … I wondered … Why Jesus chose those particular words? 

Why didn’t He just say “Be healed” or “Your faith has made you well”?

 

“Get up, pick up your mat, and walk” (John 5:8)

I felt sure that Jesus wasn’t just reminding him to be clean and tidy and not leave his belongings for someone else to pick up! Jesus words are always well chosen, so why did he specifically say: “Pick up your mat”? What did the mat represent?

And then I saw it. It represented his life! His story. His experiences and everything he had been through as he lived at the pool for ALL of those years. I’m talking about his pain, hardships and disappointments. This includes feelings of isolation from society due to not being able to live a “normal” life. He was not able to have a family or have a job like other men. Instead of earning a living he had to beg and rely on others to survive.  Can you imagine what that would have been like? After 38 long and difficult years, it would have really impacted his sense of self-worth and identity! 

So when Jesus said to him “pick up your mat” I sensed Jesus was saying to him (my paraphrase) “Pick up your life! Pick up everything you have been through … and carry it with you, into your future.

And that’s exactly what this man did. He picked up his mat and walked right back out into society. He took with him not only the story of his difficult life at the pool, but his testimony of how Jesus came along one amazing day, and healed him!

I can just imagine him full of joy and walking around with his mat under his arm! When people said “Hey, aren’t you the guy who used to live at the pool”? He would say to them “Yes”! I was once crippled, I used to beg, I couldn’t live like you do. But Jesus set me free. He healed me and now here I am!” That man became a walking, talking testimony of the goodness, love and healing power of God! 

I realised when I read this story that each of us have “a mat”. I have one and so do you.

Our mat represents our lives. It is our story. It represents our life experiences. So, let me ask you: What have you been through? What challenges, difficulties and hardships have been uniquely yours? Perhaps you have  experienced financial loss, a relationship breakdown or a health issue …. Or, something else? What hardship or set back have you gone through in your life? This is ALL part of “your mat”. But then, importantly, so is your testimony and your experience of how you encountered Jesus’ powerful love! This is all a part of your mat.  So, let me encourage you to reflect  … “How have YOU experienced God’s grace, love and power? How has He set you free? How has he given you hope? How has He restored your life? This is all part of “your mat” because it is YOUR story! 

I am on a mission today! I want to passionately encourage you to realize the importance of your own story to help others. When I say “your story” I am not talking about the sanitised version! I bet the man at the pool didn’t spin his story to make it “look good”. I’m sure he didn’t say “Hey look, it was just great there at the pool! It was a bit of an oasis really, especially on really hot days. There were palm trees swaying in the breeze and I could just slip into the refreshing water anytime I liked”. No! He would have shared the true story. That would go something like this … “Once I despaired of life! In fact, I didn’t know if I could go on. I thought ‘what’s the point’? I looked at all the other men and saw them with their kids and felt like giving up” … But then Jesus came along! He reached out to me in my pain. He reached out and touched me with his healing power. He didn’t leave me by the pool. He changed my life! And now I have a future!!”

So, my friend, I want to encourage you to “Pick up your mat” and share your real, true and honest story, the one without any “spin”. It’s “that” story which is really going to help people when you ADD to it the power of your testimony! How one day, the One who loves you the most – Jesus – stepped into your broken and messy life and miracle of miracles – He set you free!! You encountered his unconditional love and saving grace. He gave you a hope when you had no hope. This Jesus restored your broken life and gave you a brand new future. Now that’s the story which others want to hear about! That story of redemption and restoration is going to lead others to Jesus. . That’s the story which is going to set them free.

God uses broken things in which to display His glory.

Pick up YOUR mat – (Your Own Story) and walk into the world, and share it.

Carolyn Conway is the director of Almond Tree Ministries. She speaks and teaches on a range of topics at churches, conferences and women’s events. Her passion is to see the Body of Christ arise and be God’s power and presence in the world. She is also a certified Life Coach. 

Enquiries: carolyn@almondtreeministries.com.au or call 0411 152 524

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This Is Beneath Your Dignity

Many years ago, I read about a Russian Priest, Father John Sergiev (1829-1908). His story greatly impacted me at the time, it still does. 

Father John first thought he wanted to be a monk in the remote areas of Siberia, but after a vision, he realised God wanted him to be a missionary right where he was – in the hustle and bustle of the big urban city of St. Petersburg. While most priests remained in the safe confines of their cathedrals, Father John would go out into the noisy, dirty, crime-ridden slums and back alleys of the city.  He would find someone down and out in the gutter, sleeping off the effects of the previous night’s drink and activities. Father John would cup his chin, look him in the eyes and say “This is beneath your dignity. You were created to house the fullness of God.”

“This is beneath your dignity. You were created to house the fullness of God.”

The part of Father John’s story which impacts me the most is “Father John would cup their chin, look into their eyes and say “This is beneath your dignity. You were created to house the fullness of God”.  The first time I ever read this, I was brought to tears.

Father John’s words are amazing, absolutely amazing. 

They remind us of God’s original intentions for the divine beings He created, every person on the planet. We were designed to “house the fullness of God”. Father John knew this, and he wanted those who slept on the streets to know it too. As he cupped the chin of the homeless one and stared deeply into their eyes, he was showing them “You are deeply and desperately loved by God. You have intrinsic and priceless worth. That’s why sleeping in the gutter is beneath your dignity.” 

 

“To love another person, is to see the face of God”

– Jean Valjean

 

I don’t know if it’s the result of COVID but I see many more people on the street these days, at least in our area. On the main strip of shops near us, three have come in the last month. They each share a section of the footpath and sleep on a piece of cardboard at night. During the day, they place a bucket in front of them and hope for a few coins. I stop and chat to them all the time, offer to pray for them (something they’ve all been so grateful for) and I usually put some money in their bucket. I know their names and they know mine. Each has shared some of their story with me. They are beautiful human beings. 

The other day I saw Chris still sleeping on his mat at 10:30am. (Chris has never wanted any money, he doesn’t even have a bucket. The first time I met him I wanted to give him some money and he said “don’t worry about it, I don’t want any money, I don’t want anything.” He was so broken in spirit, and had such sadness in his eyes). That morning, I felt prompted to pick him up some food at the supermarket a few doors up. I bought a big bag of groceries, with some items I thought he’d like, some bananas, apples, snakes, M&M’s, fruit juice, chocolate biscuits, a block of chocolate, CC’s and more (I know, I know … it’s not very healthy but I felt like I wanted to give him a treat). I walked down the footpath and stopped next to him. “Hi Chris!” He sat up slowly, glanced up and saw it was me. “Did you sleep here all night??”  He said quietly “Yeah, I did”. I said “But Chris, it poured rain last night and it was freezing! He nodded. “Yeah, it was pretty cold”. I said “well …  this doesn’t look to be a good plan, does it? Winter is coming, and it’s coming fast and it’s going to get colder. I’m wondering Chris, why don’t we think of some better options.” It took a while to come up with some, but eventually we did. 

I also talked to him for quite a while about God. I told him God loved him and that He was with him every second of the day and that He wasn’t mad with him at all, not at all, in fact the very opposite. And I shared what I sensed God was saying about his future – that he was a man with a very kind heart who was going to help others in the future, and he had creative gifts he would use again. Tears rolled down his cheeks. I said “Chris, when I leave here, why don’t you talk to God some more?” I grinned at him, and he smiled back. “I will” he said. 

The next day, Chris wasn’t there. 

I’m hoping he decided to follow through with his plan to sleep somewhere better that night. And I’m also hoping that a flicker of hope has been lit within him to believe for a better tomorrow. And then after that, an even better one.

After all, sleeping on the street is “beneath his dignity”. Chris was “created to house the fullness of God”. (Fr. John Sergiev)

“Wherever Father John went, people found new hope and optimism because they discovered, or were reminded of who they were”

“Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” – Jesus

 

Matthew 25:40

Easter – He is Risen!

 

 

 

As we head into Easter, we remember that the events which took place 2,000 years ago, marked the most pivotal event in history and in the Christian faith. Without a doubt, the resurrection of Jesus is the defining moment in all of Scripture.

 

The Christian faith rises or falls on the resurrection

 

The Christian faith rises or falls on the resurrection. Paul says “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:17-20)

Did you know that no other religion claims a resurrected leader? Not one. You can visit the tombs of all the other religious leaders and see their final resting places. Their remains are in the grave. But not with Jesus, His tomb was empty!

Jesus resurrection proves that this life is not all that there is. There is the certain hope of heaven and a life after this life – forever with our God and his son Jesus. Paul says that Jesus, the Christ and our Messiah, was the first fruits and a guarantee of that promise. (1 Cor 15:17-20)

 

The Story of Jesus is, above all else, a love story

 

The story of Jesus is, above all else, a love story. Jesus is the God of the universe. Not one atom in this cosmos was made without his direct involvement in its creation, including each of us. Yet every one of us turned away from of Him, rejecting his love and lordship. The Bible calls this sin. The effect of this is that human beings were cut off from the author of life. But God wasn’t content to leave things like this, that’s why this is a love story. God loves his world and us so much that he wasn’t prepared to let us stay separated from Him.

That’s where Jesus comes in. He stepped out of glory in heaven and into our troubled world, coming as a vulnerable baby. He grew up in a normal Jewish family and had a trade as a carpenter, until he started his public ministry. Then, after living a perfect life, in an astonishing act of self-sacrificial love, he was unjustly beaten and crucified on a Roman cross.

 

Jesus death was no ordinary death

 

But Jesus death was no ordinary death. His death absorbed the guilt, rejection, shame, fear, bondage and brokenness of the world. He substituted himself for us. Our sinful record, with his faultless record. Our broken relationship with God, with reconciliation and intimacy again with our heavenly Father. Added to add to that … because He conquered death and arose, we too shall arise to eternal life. That’s what the Easter celebration is all about! How marvellously amazing was God’s redemptive plan. Jesus has made all this possible. As Paul exclaimed “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)

I’m thinking this Easter about the world in which we live. Where do you live? I’m sure you will agree that so many yet have not experienced the true Jesus – the Jesus of this greatest “love-story” ever told. Their experience of him is either non-existent, second or third-hand, or it has even been impaired by people who have represented him incorrectly. Jesus heart is beating for them, He longs for them to know and experience His amazing grace and love.

 

Sharing the greatest love story ever told

 

My appeal to all of us this Easter is to ask Jesus who we can share His love with? I believe He will tell us if we ask.

I also pray for you this Easter. May you be deeply reminded again, of how very great God’s loves is for you personally.

Happy Easter – Jesus is Risen!

 

“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ (Matthew 28:1-8)

God Loves To Speak To Us!

God is an amazing communicator. But the question is, do we know how to hear Him? This is something we are all learning more about …

After I had spoken at a conference recently, a lady approached me and said “I have never experienced God speaking to me, but I would love to. If only I could…”

I saw the sadness in her eyes and I felt such a compassion for her. But then, in a surge of passion and excitement I said “But you can! Jesus promised “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10). And you are His sheep! Therefore, you can hear His voice.”

How does God speak?

I began to explain to this lady that God is not confined to speaking to us in a set way. Not only does He speak to us through the bible, but in many other creative ways, such as through worship, preaching, prophetic words, friends, newspaper headlines, nature, art, or a movie (something I experienced last week) – to name just a few. I also explained that a key to hearing Him speak is to grow in our relationship with Him. The more we do, the more we hear His “still small voice”. It was wonderful to see this lady leave our conversation with a new excitement about her relationship with God!

Today I want to share an example of another way God speaks – it is through numbers. In fact, it is a way in which God has powerfully spoken to me over the years.

God speaks through numbers

When I say that God ‘speaks through numbers’ I am not talking about numerology! I am referring to when we see, with a certain regularity, a number (or often more than one number) in various ways and places. When this continues to happen, it can be God trying to get our attention. The wonderful thing is, if we go through life expecting the Lord to speak to us (which He does) then we will inevitably start to notice when this kind of thing happens. And when it does, we can ask Him … “Lord, what do you want to say to me through this”?  Something else which is important to be aware of, is that in the Bible, certain numbers do have a spiritual significance.

In my life, God has particularly (and powerfully) used the number 111 to speak to me.

The first time the Lord did this, was early one morning in 2013. I had slipped out of bed at 4am to seek Him for direction.  As I started to pray, I felt a strong prompting to look up Jeremiah 1:11. When I did, I saw that in this verse, God had given Jeremiah a vision of an Almond Tree which was awakening. God spoke to me powerfully through what I read, and enabled me to see certain things “in the Spirit”. I wrote down everything I sensed He was saying. The experience was so impacting, that I strongly sensed God was leading me into something new. Two hours later, I was awoke my husband and excitedly shared it with Him.

Confirmations

The day following this experience, I went to work. At that time, I was a pastor at a church. As usual, I went to my pigeon-hole to collect my mail. I was very surprised to see an anonymous envelope with these words written on the outside “Pastor Carolyn, this is for your future ministry”. Inside the envelope was some money. To be more exact, it was a One hundred dollar note, a ten dollar note and a one dollar coin. Yes – a total of $111 dollars. I was shocked…  and perplexed.

That night, I said to my husband “a very strange thing happened today” and I showed him the envelope. We agreed there was something very significant about the fact that someone had bothered to put in an amount of money totalling exactly $111. (To this day, I have no idea who left the envelope).

That was eight years ago, and it is no exaggeration to say that since that time, the Lord has spoken to me through the number 111 hundreds and hundreds of times.  It “appears” with such astounding frequency and consistency, and in the most surprising and “bizarre” ways that I now recognise this as nothing less than miraculous. This number usually appears randomly, for no specific reason (at least that I can see) so I conclude from this that it is just the Lord reminding me, yet again, of what the significance of the number is and what He has called me to do. Then again, there are other times when 111 “pops up” at key pivotal points in my life when clear direction is needed. For example, the first time we went to our new church, we were asking the Lord  “Is this where you are leading us?”. That morning, the person preaching stood up and said “today I am preaching on Mark 1:11. We were surprised (but also not surprised!).  Another confirmation came that morning by way of a hymn number that was up on the old wooden hymn board (which had not been used for years). There was only one hymn number, and it was 111. This seeing of 111 has continued for the last eight years, in fact it is a very strange day if I don’t see it in an usual way.   I have taken hundreds of photos and kept them, but no longer do so because there are so many!

What is the significance of 111?

In Jeremiah’s prophetic vision (in Jeremiah 1:11) the Almond Tree was Awakening. It was transitioning out of winter and into a new spring season. Jeremiah saw the dormant tree waking up and blossom was forming on its branches.

The number 111 signifies … Awakening, Wake up Call, A New Season, Transition, Breakthrough, New Growth, Flourishing, Fruitfulness, Favour, Provision, Alignment, Resurrection from death to life. The number 111 is also connected to identity and destiny.

So as this blog won’t become too long, I have provided just a few bible references below which describe the spiritual significance of the number 111 – but there are many others.

  • Genesis 1:11 we read “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds. And it was so.”
  • Joshua 1:11 “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross over the Jordan river (transition) and you will go in and take possession of the new land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.”
  • Mark 1:11 – When Jesus came up (transitioned) out of the waters of baptism, the Father declared His true identity with the words  “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

The Awakening Church

Jeremiah’s vision of an AWAKENING Almond Tree was a prophetic picture of what God was saying to Israel. It was a reminder from Him of His love and faithfulness for them, at a very difficult period in their history. He declared that they would AWAKEN to a new season of restoration in their true identity and destiny to be a light to the nations.

The word “Awakening” in the Cambridge dictionary means “to wake up, to be aroused, to be alert, to arise, to thrive, to flourish, to be enlivened, to be in the land of the living, to be sleepless, to be activated.” 

All of these words describe what the Holy Spirit is doing on the earth today. The Bride of Jesus is AWAKENING AND ARISING in her true identity and destiny. We have the joy and privilege of being alive “at such a time as this” and sharing in God’s plans to advance heaven on earth and seeing millions of prodigals return home.

The Father’s desire is that YOU personally prosper and flourish like the Almond Tree – so that others can “can “pick the fruit of your life and be fed with His goodness.” That’s what fruit is for.

How Does God Speak To You?

My experience with God speaking to me through the number 111 is just one example of how God speaks to us in “unexpected ways”.

God LOVES speaking to us. To put it in a more personal way today, He loves to speak to YOU. I encourage you to throw off any lie which says “I can’t hear from God”. He has given a promise that “my sheep hear my voice”. Receive this truth deeply today, and keep a look out for how He might be speaking to you in “many and various” ways in the future!

I would love to hear of your experiences. Please leave me a comment in the space below.

Carolyn Conway
Founder – Almond Tree Ministries


ABOUT ALMOND TREE MINISTRIES

Our Mission: “Awakening the Body of Christ through the message of the Almond Tree”

Our Ministry: This is an awakening ministry based in Melbourne, Australia. We are a training and equipping resource for the Body of Christ. Our teaching is uniquely based on the identity of the Almond Tree in the Bible.  Our events are designed to bring spiritual awakening, breakthrough and commission individuals in their God-given identity and destiny.

Carolyn Conway is the Founder of Almond Tree Ministries. She has been in pastoral ministry for more than 35 years and is an itinerant preacher. She has taught for many years at Bible College helping students to discover their unique destiny and is a prophetic voice to the wider Body of Christ. Enquiries can be directed to carolyn@almondtreeministries.com.au or call +614 111 52524

* Please forward on this Blog to others who would be encouraged.
Stay up to date with future blogs and ministry events by subscribing via our website at www.almondtreeministries.com.au

Grief and Christmas

I sat in silence, flowers in my hand, and stared at the green hills in the distance. My legs just didn’t want to get out of the car. So, there I sat, and the minutes ticked by. And then my gaze was interrupted by another car that pulled up not far ahead of mine.  An elderly man got out, he looked to be about 70. He went to the boot of his car and opened the lid; and then he looked around, back and forth. He even looked a little suspicious. I wondered what he was doing, and what he had in his boot. He reached in, lifted something heavy out and placed it on the ground. It was a lawn-mower. Looking all around again, he then wheeled the lawnmower to the grave, started the engine and then carefully mowed the area, a perfect rectangle. Returning the mower to the boot, he then got out a rake and tidied every blade of grass. Finally, he placed a bunch of white roses into a vase at the head of the tombstone. Shortly after that, he left.

I was overwhelmed by everything I had witnessed.

My own grief had been interrupted by my deep compassion for this elderly man. I presumed he had mowed the grave of his wife. I began to imagine the long life they had shared together, and I wondered what she was like. I think she would have been a neat and orderly person, that’s what it felt like to me. He had mowed the lawn to make it nice and tidy for her. She would have appreciated him doing that. How amazing of him, I thought… he did it to honor her, and he did it to express his love for her. How he must miss her, I thought. Tears filled my eyes “Father, please bless the man” I whispered, “let Him know that you are close to him this Christmas”. I sat in silence for a long time and gazed once more at the green hills in the distance.

And then, finally, I knew it was my turn. Taking a very deep breath, I opened the car door, clutching the flowers in my hand, I stepped out …

—–

You may be wondering why would I share this story, especially just a few days before Christmas, which is a time of joy …

My sole purpose in writing is for all those who are dealing with grief and loss at Christmas.

And if that’s you, I want you to know that you are not alone. (Even if you feel you are). You aren’t.

My thoughts and prayers are with you. I am thinking of you.

Like you, I understand what it’s like to see the missing chair at the Christmas table.

But I’m not writing this, just to say that I understand.

I want to tell you something else.

And that is (despite the deep ache in your soul) I know you are a person who has chosen to put “best foot forward” (to quote Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music).

You have decorated your home, made Christmas treats and braved the shops looking for gifts for others you care about in your life.

Why?

Because you have made the noble decision to be “present” for those you love. You are thinking of them.

What am I saying?

Simply this.

Here’s to you. You are amazing and courageous and brave. Yes, very brave.

—–

In my own life, I continue to navigate the choppy waters of grief.

It’s been a few years now, and this journey will continue until that amazing day when I arrive in heaven and see our precious son again. I imagine the joy of that reunion often. Very often. And through the tears, it makes me smile … really smile.

Jesus birth made this possible. And that to me is by FAR the best thing about Christmas.

And so I pray, that this truth anchors you too in the choppy waters of your grief.

And I also pray that the perfect peace of Jesus, the Prince of Peace fills your heart this Christmas. May He wrap you tight in His perfect and eternal love.

Emmanuel, Jesus is with you.

Holding On To The Promises Of God

Mary asked the angel “how will this be since I am a virgin?”

In Luke’s gospel Chapter 1 is the beautiful account of Mary receiving the amazing news from the angel Gabriel that she had been chosen by God to be the mother of the Messiah. Luke says that when Mary was told, she was “greatly troubled at the angels words and said “How will this be since I am a virgin?”  Notice that Mary’s question was a biological one, not one of doubt. She understandably wanted to know how this could happen, since she wasn’t yet married (because of course she knew how babies were made!)

When the angel explained that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her making conception possible, she understood and said “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.” Immediately Mary embraced her assignment – despite knowing fully the risks of being pregnant out of wedlock.

It’s not hard to contrast Mary’s response with that of Zechariah’s earlier in Luke Chapter 1.

Zechariah was the husband of Elizabeth, who was Mary’s cousin. They were elderly and had longed for a child for many years. One day, an angel turned up with amazing news and said “Zechariah your prayer has been heard! Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John … and he will bring back many people of Israel to the Lord their God”.

This was a great blessing from God (and a miracle given their age). But Zechariah said to the angel “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” Zechariah’s question was one of doubt; he didn’t believe it was true and he questioned whether it would happen saying “how can I be sure this will happen.”?

Gabriel wasn’t too impressed with his response. He said “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you to tell you this good news. And now, you will be silent and not be able to speak until this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

As I read the story of Mary and then Zechariah this week, I felt challenged to finish the year in FAITH – like the faith which Mary had.

Perhaps it’s a challenge for all of us.

What a beautiful and trusting heart Mary had, and an incredibly courageous one too. I’m sure becoming pregnant before she was married was not the start of her “dream-wedding” she had imagined. Mary’s assignment came at a great personal cost and risk, but she readily said “yes” to it. She put her trust FULLY in God. She had faith in His goodness and provision believing that he would work out all the future details. (God surely knew what He was doing when He chose Mary).

What has God spoken to you? What reassurances has he given you? How are you responding to them?

Perhaps you’ve been holding onto hope and His promise in an area such as work, ministry, finances or a child?

Whatever it is, as 2020 comes to an end, let’s choose to finish strong in faith believing God’s promises WILL come to pass in our lives (in His perfect timing). You know we really don’t need to know all the details of how! We just need to fully trust … and then let a “Mary-like” declaration come out of our mouth “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled”.

May the peace and joy of Jesus fill your heart and your home this Christmas.

Joy to the World!

Carolyn

God’s Promise of Faithfulness to You

Have you ever experienced a situation where someone was unfaithful? If so, you will know how deeply painful it can be. Today I want to encourage you to remember that God’s faithfulness to you is unlike any human relationship.

God is always faithful and His promises never fail.

Whatever challenges you face, God wants to remind you He will be faithful to you in that very situation.

God’s Promises of Faithfulness

Here are a few promises of God’s faithfulness . . .

  • “…He who promised is faithful” Hebrews 10:23
  • “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”Numbers 23:19
  • “In Jesus we hear a resounding ‘Yes’ to all of God’s many promises  2 Corinthians 1:20
  • “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!  Lamentations 3:22-24

This week, I also read in Revelation 9:11 that even Jesus name is FAITHFUL!

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11). Wow!  His very name is Faithful!!

Is God Always Faithful?

God wants you to know that His faithfulness to you doesn’t diminish because of any mistakes you may have made. Check out this verse below.

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”—2 Timothy 2:13

So, take heart in God’s unchanging character. He doesn’t get in a bad mood with you or turn away from you if you stumble. People can do this, but it’s important not to project this onto your relationship with God. God’s behaviour is not subject to yours. That God is faithful to us, even if we are not to Him, is beyond our earthly understanding. But there it is, it is the TRUTH. What a testament this is to God’s astronomic LOVE. Because you’re in a covenant relationship with Him, you are safely and securely (and permanently) tucked under His wing – forever at rest in His love. His faithfulness to you is a done deal. (Now’s the perfect time to say a huge: Thank you Jesus!)

God gave us His promises so that we could take hold of them and apply them to our lives – especially important when times are tough. (It’s not enough to just know them).

The verse below says that we need to “feed on His faithfulness”. (I had never seen this verse before!)

Psalm 37:3 – “Trust in the Lord, and do good, dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

The Psalmist was spot on. He knew that if we don’t (regularly) “feed on His faithfulness” we are likely to forget this important aspect of God’s character.

So how do we “feed on God’s faithfulness”?

By (a) remembering it AND (b) declaring it.

How to Activate God’s Promise of Faithfulness in Your Life

The dictionary describes faithfulness as:

Loyal; True; Trustworthy; Devoted; Constant; Committed; Reliable; Dedicated; Dependable.

All of these words describe God’s relationship with YOU.

  1. I invite you to make this personal and put each of the above words in a sentence like this … “He is LOYAL to me; He is TRUE to me; He is … (put in each words and don’t stop until you’re finished. This is very powerful and if you do this with faith and boldness, I can guarantee that it will shift doubt).

Jeremiah 1:12 says God is watching over His word to see that it comes to pass”. That’s a powerful promise for your life right there! This verse is saying that God is watching over His words concerning every-single-aspect-of-your-life! And why? To ensure that His promises to you come to pass. (*A reminder here: God is never late. He is never early. He is always on time. He does ALL THINGS PERFECTLY. And His promises never, ever, ever, fail).

  1. What situation are you facing right now where you need breakthrough? (Take a moment to identify one of your biggest challenges right now).

Into that very situation, I want you to remember and declare God’s faithfulness.

Below I’ve crafted a declaration based on some of God’s promises of faithfulness, I invite you to declare it over your life. (And also add to it in your own words, as you feel led.)

DECLARATION:

Father God, thank you that you love me and that I am your beloved child; I commit to you the situation of XXXXXXXXX (where you need breakthrough) I rejoice that ALL your promises to me are Yes and Amen! I rejoice that your mercies fail not and your faithfulness to me is new every morning; Great is your Faithfulness! I declare “You are God! And you never lie!” Therefore, I proclaim all your promises are TRUE.  And they always come to pass! I rest in perfect peace trusting in your perfect timing. How great you are to me! How wise and how good you are. Today I declare my trust in your faithfulness to me in every area of my life, in Jesus mighty name, thank you, amen.

It is time to activate faith in the truth of God’s faithfulness.  It is the key to flourishing in life.

Great is His Faithfulness! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvtaGtTeMpI&ab_channel=WorshipCircle

God bless,

Carolyn Conway,

Almond Tree Ministries

Awakening Hearts l Unlocking Destinies

Your Words Create Life!

Your Words are Powerful!

An aspect of what it means to be created in the image of God is our ability to create LIFE with our words.

  • God said, “Let there be light” – and there was! (Genesis 1:3)
  • Jesus said, “Lazarus come forth” – and he did! (John 11:43)
  • Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give to you, in the name of Jesus Christ, Stand up and walk” – and the lame man did! (Acts 3:6)

The Power of a Prophetic Word

Some years ago, whilst at a conference, I was chatting with a friend over the lunch-break. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man who looked as if he was waiting to speak to me. When my friend left to get another coffee, I motioned to the man to come over and I asked him if he wanted to speak to me. He replied that he did. I also asked him if we had met before (as I had no memory of ever doing so) and he said that we hadn’t, but then added “I am wondering if your name is Carolyn?”  I said that it was, and he immediately fell down to the ground, under the power of God and started to shake (that was my first surprise!)  Shortly afterwards, he was able to stand up, and then he told me that God had spoken to him that morning and given him a word for someone named Carolyn, but he didn’t know who that was. However, when he saw me at lunchtime, the Lord spoke to him and told him that I was the person. (That was my second surprise!).  Then he proceeded to give me two prophetic words. (My third surprise!) One of those prophetic words contained a portion of Romans 4:17 which says “God gives life to the dead, and calls into being things that were not”.  He said the Lord wanted me to know that this was a key verse for my future and that God wanted me to remember it and that as I stepped out in faith and declared this promise I would be amazed to see the wonders and miracles of God manifest ….” (my fourth surprise!).

I am so GRATEFUL for the gift of the prophetic in the Church!  It is the Lord’s personal and powerful encouragement to empower our destinies. And I am also so thankful to this humble man who stepped out in faith to share this Word with me. His focus was on honoring and obeying the Lord instead of fearing “what if I am wrong?”.

What a difference this prophetic word has made to my life and ministry. I have needed to remind myself often of it often over the years, especially when encountering difficult circumstances in my life or in ministry. However, God is faithful and on so many occasions, as I have declared this verse by faith, I have indeed seen many miracles take place. All glory to God!

“Calling Into Being Things That Were Not” (Romans 4:17)

Our words are powerful! Our words create life! Our words release miracles!  Prayer takes on a new dimension as we partner with the Holy Spirit and speak out God’s decrees. Never underestimate the power of God’s promise as you speak it out of your mouth! Consider what Jesus taught “Whoever shall say to this mountain, be removed and be cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he said shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he said.”  As the beloved and anointed sons and daughters of God, we are authorized and empowered to speak to “mountains” in life (problems in our world) – Mark 11. This is our mandate!

Display God’s love and power …

As this challenging season stretches on, we see many needs around us. These needs are not only opportunities to release practical love, but also use prophetic decrees, which align with heaven’s purposes.

We have been commissioned to partner with the Holy Spirit and speak to mountains (problems). Mountains are BIG, right? In other words, Jesus is inviting us to shift BIG obstacles and problems in life by decreeing God’s purposes over them with our words. 

Where do you see problems around you right now? The key to having faith is to shift your gaze away from the size of the mountain, and onto the size of your God. As you do this and speak out your faith-filled declarations, the darkness is permeated and angels of light are released on assignment. Your enemy does not want you to believe this, but it is the TRUTH! Your words make a way, where there (seems) to be no way.  Praise God! What a privilege and joy is life in the Kingdom.

This is how we have been called to live during this “lock-down.” 

May God bless you mightily as you “Call into Being Things that Were Not” so that the mountains around you are moved and the miraculous is displayed through you!

May His joy and peace fill your heart,

Carolyn Conway

Almond Tree Ministries
Awakening hearts l Unlocking Destinies