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I came to RiverCamp with some Brennan Manning and John Eldredge books to listen to on my iPod as I walked by the river.
Well, it turns out that the River in River Camp is metaphorical. Duh!
It, in fact, describes my favourite river in the world, the river which flows from the sanctuary in Ezekiel 47 1-12.
Googling my own blog, I see I’ve written about it repeatedly. It is the river of creativity, of refreshing, renewal, and forgiveness—the only river in which you want to live. Where this water flows, the salty turns sweet. Trees on the banks of this river bear fruit every month. The fruit is good for food and the leaves for healing.
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Heidi Baker spoke. Heidi is 53, but has the figure, energy, zip and personality of a bouncy teenager. She tells stories with absolute child-like delight, and jumps up and down with excitement as she tells them!!
Her life is her sermon. She apparently knows Christ as few do, and operated in a different dimension altogether in which miracles are normal. Then she goes on stage and tells stories of the myriad miracles she has experienced in the course of her daily life in which she steps out on a limb daily, and it is more powerful than any theological sermon.
I have heard her thrice before, twice in Oxford, and once at New Wine in Somerset, but always gain new things from her (often repeated) stories. Well, she puts it this way—you may have been pregnant before, but when it comes time to push, you feel something!!
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Heidi was severely dyslexic until the age of 16; her teachers mocked her inability to spell. After prayer for healing, she was healed completely of dyslexia and went on to get a Bachelor’s, Masters and even a Ph.D (in Systematic Theology, for heaven’s sake!) from Kings’ College, London.
I LOVE that story. The molecules in the brain can be healed just as much as the molecules in the body, the dyslexic receiving a Ph.D, just as later, her husband, Rolland Baker, who had advanced dementia, was miraculously healed.
I was myself was completely healed from a long, long burn-out ( the result of a toxic cocktail of overwork, stress and depression) which severely affected my reading speed, and my ability to concentrate for long hours after humbling myself by requesting prayer in a healing service at church in April 2010. The week I started blogging!! I wrote a sardonic post about the grammar of the healer—and later humbly realized, heck, grammar wasn’t essential to heal!
Without that complete healing, which restored my ability to read, write and concentrate for long hours, after a severe burn-out and intermittent depression which had lasted for many, many years, I not would have been able to blog or write successfully!!
Remember how Naaman was told to wash in the River Jordan (2 Kings 5). Sometimes, healing or the spiritual gift you seek comes because you humble yourself and take the time to go and ask for it. (And often, the healing will come from someone who you may well feel supercilious about.)
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One reason I find Heidi Baker inspiring is that she makes following Christ sound joyful and easy. Listen, hang in there, press in, pray constantly, obey.
Heidi snorkels in the ocean outside her home in Mozambique. She goes knee-deep, then waist-deep, puts her face in, kicks her legs , lets go, and looks into an amazing new world.
Stepping into the Kingdom is like snorkelling, she said. Leave shore, go deep, deeper still, and look at your world, a new world, with the eyes of faith.
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Here’s another story she told. When Heidi was 18, a Christian preacher came to her college, and said that God gave him a city. She sat in front, smiling, nodding, and thinking, “What a jerk!! Gave him a city!! As if God would give him a city.”
And she said she saw a vision of angel, pointing at the man, saying, “He’s telling the truth. Listen to him.”
And she collapsed saying, “Then give me a nation.” Do you hear her ambition? Nothing to be ashamed of in ambition for things of the Spirit.
She asked for the poorest, most desperate nation on earth, which was Mozambique.
She is building a university there, and has seen some of the 10,000abandoned children she has adopted and educated become professors, journalists, architects, doctors, nurses and preachers.
I recently chatted to a missionary to Africa who told me that Mozambique is one of the continent’s great success stories. Surely Heidi has played a part in this!
Anyway, lesson: Just because we’ve never heard of being given a city by God doesn’t mean it’s not true.
Just because we have never seen an angel (I haven’t, though I experienced angelic protection and deliverance numerous times) doesn’t mean no one does.
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When we lived in Manchester where Roy as a Distinguished Visiting Professor in Maths at the University, we went to another healing meeting, for the aforementioned burn-out. The speaker, an American, kept pointing to corners of the room, saying, “There’s a large female angel there, over you in pink.” “And, you, sir,” pointing to a mild, inoffensive Englishmen, “God is doing something in you. I see angels around you.” The man turned around startled; so did I. Didn’t see any angels. I didn’t, at least.
“He believes in angels,” I whispered to the tune of the Abba song, “I have a Dream,” to my daughter, Zoe, then 10, each time he saw another angel. “Ssssh, mum,” Zoe whispered. Apparently, she had been brought up to believe one should behave oneself in church!!
I later realised how stupid I was being. Just because I had never seen an angel does not mean that the speaker did not see one. Or the controversial Todd Bentley who says he sees an angel called Emma scattering gold dust. Yes, really. (He really says so,