Word of Encouragement: Ruins to Residence, Restored to be a Restorer

This week I’ve been battling a cold. Stuck back in bed at first I was quite grumpy and I was feeling miserable but yesterday I managed some study and I have done some writing, so God is at work. Unfortunately, I haven’t felt I’ve had the energy to work on “The Greatest Story” but I do have a word of encouragement that I pray blesses you.

I’ve been watching a show called “Restoration Australia” each episode shows how a historic building, that is on the brink of complete collapse, is lovingly restored. Stone walls are rebuilt, walls are re-plastered, roofs are made watertight etc. Now I’m telling you this because God is the God of restoration. I desire to encourage and challenge you today.

Ruins to Residence

Encourage you that if you feel like you’re a bunch of ruins about to collapse that God wants to begin to restore you today and take full residence in your heart.

In Jeremiah 30:17 the Lord declares: “I will restore health to you and I will heal your wounds!” Though you’ve been an outcast feeling as if no one cares for you, Jesus loves you and He proved it by dying upon a cross to set you free.

From His gloriously unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. As Christ takes up residence in your heart He begins a process of transformation, as you trust Him more and more God’s love keeps you strong (see Ephesians 3:16-17).

I urge you to cry out to God, thank Jesus for being the great Restorer and invite the Holy Spirit to breathe His breath of life. We CAN live restored to God and reconciled to the body of Christ (see Ephesians 2:16 TPT)

God’s life-giving word of encouragement can do wonders to restore joy to the heart. (see Proverbs 12:25 TPT)

YES! Let me declare boldly:

I am COMPLETELY and utterly convinced that our great God will FULLY satisfy every need you have. He will pour it out from His abundant riches of glory, which have been revealed through the Anointed One, Jesus Christ! God our Father will receive all the glory and the honour throughout the eternity of eternities! I pray that right now you overflow with the grace and favour of our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen! (Philippians 4:19-20, 23 TPT paraphrased)

Restored to be a Restorer

The challenge is that God desires restored people to become restorers. In Nehemiah we read about an unlikely leader who rose up to call the Jewish people to the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. The Jewish people had returned from exile to a ruined Jerusalem, moral was low and the task of rebuilding the wall was overwhelming. But after encouragement the first part went well because the people worked with enthusiasm but then excitement waned, and the wall only got half built.

Nehemiah receives a word that there is an imminent attack, the Jewish people are in danger, so he commands each family to be responsible for the part of the wall that was nearest to their home. Each family member, so each individual, took part in rebuilding the entire wall! Here is what Nehemiah declared at completion;

“So on October 2 the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we had begun. When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.” (Nehemiah 6:15-16 NLT)

I believe we’re called to be restorers and that God will help us with the work to be done.

I know you’ve been given a very specific individual role that will contribute corporately to the life of your church.

I invite you to join me in this prayer:

O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps His covenant of unfailing love with those who love Him and obey His commands (Nehemiah 1:5).

Lord please hear my heart crying out to You today. Where I’m distant from You, I ask You restore me back to You Lord. Where I’m weak, remind me of Your great strength.

Though I’ve felt like an outcast, as if no one cares for me, Jesus You promise that You love me and proved it by dying upon a cross to set me free. I thank You Jesus for being the great Restorer and I invite the Holy Spirit to breathe His breath of life.

Lord from Your gloriously unlimited resources please empower me with inner strength through Your Spirit. Christ take up residence in my heart and begin a process of transformation, as I trust You more and more God’s love will keep me strong (Ephesians 3:16-17).

Lord please restore health to me and heal my wounds! (Jeremiah 30:17)

God Your life-giving word of encouragement can do wonders to restore joy to my heart (Proverbs 12:25)

Let me be COMPLETELY and utterly convinced that my great God will FULLY satisfy every need I have. He will pour out His rich blessings from His abundant riches of glory, which have been revealed through the Anointed One, Jesus Christ! God my Father will receive all the glory and the honour throughout the eternity of eternities! I pray that right now I will overflow with the grace and favour of my Lord Jesus Christ! (Philippians 4:19-20, 23)

God I invite You to grow me, shape me and mould me. Restore me so that I can become Your restorer.

I praise You that I CAN live restored to You and reconciled to the body of Christ (Ephesians 2:16 TPT). Reveal to me the individual role I’m to play corporately to see lives restored.

Let the work I set my hands to drawing people to You Lord, let them see the work being done and know that it’s done with the help of my God (Nehemiah 6:16b).

Holy Spirit come and breathe upon my life in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Go forth restored to restore others.

Many blessings, Keona

restored people

The Greatest Story – Chapter 16: Who Is Jesus?

A few days later, as Jesus prepared to leave, Mary lingered in the doorway “when will I see You again?” she softly asked. Jesus paused packing His things and turned to her “Mother, it is my time now. I must go forth as I’ve been sent to do.” Mary’s eyes filled with tears but she nodded and smiled, “I know Son, it’s just hard for a mother to let go.” Jesus embraced her and they spent some time chatting and praying.

Jesus eventually gathered His disciples and they made their way through the Judean countryside, soon the sun’s warmth forced them to rest and they made their way to the edge of the Jordan River. They found a sheltered spot to rest and it was here that Jesus started teaching people who sought Him out:

“Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. Come! Draw near to God and He will draw near to you! Surrender your lives to God, take a stand against the devil. Run away from evil and into the loving arms of God. Turn from your own ways, acknowledge your sins and ask for forgiveness. Feel the weight and the pain of your sin, be sorrowful and weep! Let your minds acknowledge the feebleness of your own way, be humbled. Mourn for the wrongs you’ve committed, bow low before Yahweh and be exalted by His glory. Come back to God, for heaven’s kingdom realm is now made available and accessible to those who cry out for forgiveness. Come and be cleansed, receive a new heart and a new life!”

As the people listened and responded Jesus directed His disciples to baptise them. As the days progressed people travelled from near and far to hear Jesus’ message, receive healing and be baptised.

As the crowds grew John the Baptist’s disciples noticed the change and two of them left to investigate, they saw Jesus nearby and realized that many of John’s followers were now listening to Jesus. Returning they pulled John aside and told him of their findings, “Rabbi, your cousin Jesus is teaching and baptising people nearby, His followers grow while yours diminish. Aren’t you concerned?”

John laughed and declared: “remember when the Temple assistants sought me out and asked me: ‘who are you?’ I replied and declared that I wasn’t the Messiah.” John’s disciples nodded their heads and John continued: “they asked if I was Elijah or the Prophet that was expected and I explained to them that I am simply a voice shouting in the wilderness: ‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’ and when questioned over my authority to baptise I explained that I  baptise with water, but that the Promised One would baptise us with fire and great power.” John’s disciples nodded and one of the replied “yes we remember all of that and that you claimed not to be even worthy of untying His sandals.” (John 1:19-28). John nodded “that is right.” John’s disciples started to mumble and argue as their frustrations grew and one of them blurted out: “well the One you identified as the Messiah, is also baptising people. And everybody is going to Him instead of coming to us. What will happen to your ministry?” John laughed, “it is as it should be. All that we receive comes from the hand of God, I am merely fulfilling my role. I told you, and many others, that I’m not the Messiah so it should be of no surprise to you that another has come.”

John’s words did not alleviate the confusion, so he took a deep breath and continued: “I was here simply to prepare the way. I’m like a bridegroom’s friend who is simply happy to support his friend. As he stands by the bridegroom and listens to the vows exchanged a great joy floods his heart, he is happy that that his friend has found love and has a beautiful bride to now care for him. I take great delight and joy in my cousin’s success for I know that He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. I truly believe that Jesus has come from above and is far greater than anyone else. We are of the earth and therefore we speak of earthly things, but He has come from heaven and speaks of heavenly things. He testifies about what He has seen and heard, He speaks the truth. But how my heart breaks to see so few believe what He declares. His teachings are beyond what we’ve ever heard before but yet hard hearts still prevail. It is my prayer that His ministry grows and grows, that many will realise that what He says is true. For I know that He is sent to us by God. He speaks God’s words, for God has granted Him the Spirit without limit.”

John paused and then reflected “I was blessed to witness how much the Father loves His Son and to receive the insight that God has put everything into Jesus’ hands. I truly know that anyone who believes in God’s Son will receive eternal life and that those who don’t listen will remain under God’s angry judgment and never experience eternal life.” as that thought took root in John’s heart his eyes flooded with tears.

The sorrow gradually dissipated, and John looked deep into the eyes of those surrounding him “please” he implored them “do not fret or worry over my ministry but instead take heart and be of good cheer, for I’ve been obedient and now Jesus will take over.” (John 3:22-36)

John could still see the confusion, he took a deep breath and continued, “we’ve spent our days shrouded in darkness but now we can say that we see a brilliant Light! Though we may still be surrounded by dark shadows,  we can know that God’s Light is shining bright. Though we still live in the land of death we can declare: “The Dawning Light arises, we praise You God for we can see the brilliant Light!” (Inspired by Matthew‬ ‭4:16)

As the crowds that sought out Jesus swelled the Pharisees began to murmur and complain “who is this Jesus?” they questioned, “who does He think He is?”. Jesus’ disciples heard of their questioning and warned Jesus, upon hearing the news He knew that it was time to move on. Jesus and His disciples packed up and began to make their way to Galilee. (John 4:1-3)

 

Notes:

Jesus’ cry to the people has been inspired by Matthew‬ ‭4:17‬ and James (Jacob)‬ ‭4:7-10‬.

Did Jesus baptise? John 3:22 states that He did baptise but John 4:1-3 states that He did not personally baptise. These little details can leave me feeling confused but The Southern Cross article explains that “Whether Jesus took a hand in this preparatory baptismal routine or not, is immaterial.” The main thing is Jesus ministered to those in need and whatever form that took surely it doesn’t really matter?!

I know sin and repentance are tough words to grapple with. Sin is basically any wrong doing, this can be a lie or lustful thoughts or harboring anger or even committing a crime. No wrong doing is worse than the other, they are all seen as something we need to repent of. Which gets us to the second tricky word: repentance, this is simply acknowledging we made an error, asking for forgiveness (God’s and other people’s if necessary) and embracing God’s plan.

If you would like to study more, here are some links:

www.allaboutgod.com

www.allaboutgod.com

The Greatest Story – Chapter 15: Salt and Light

The wedding celebrations had lasted until the early morning, but Jesus and His disciples had left as soon as they could because they would be traveling to Capernaum with His family. It was here that Jesus tried to prepare His family for the time to come and in particular He felt a longing to explain to His mother all that would unfold. After much prayer He gathered His family and His disciples together and shared with them the words His Father had given Him:

“In the beginning the Word was with God and the Word was God, for the Word already existed. God created all things through the Messiah and for the Messiah, nothing was created without Him. The Word gave life to everything and everything was created to bring God glory. The light shines brightly in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it (John 1:1-5)”.

Jesus paused and prayed for the right words as He allowed the truth to sink into their hearts. After moments of silence Jesus softly continued “Our ancestors walked away from God as they wandered through the wilderness, they constantly grumbled and complained. God heard their disgruntled protests and sent poisonous snakes among them. Many were bitten and died.” Jesus looked around at the solemn faces and continued: “When the people’s hearts were gripped with terror they cried out to Moses: ‘Forgive us! We have sinned against the Lord our God and against you, please speak to God for us and ask Him to remove the snakes.’ Moses did as the people asked and spoke to God, he was instructed to make a bronze replica of the snake and attach it to a pole. When people were bitten they could look upon the bronze snake, remember the Lord God and be healed! Just as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole for deliverance so must God lift up the Son of man and place Him on a cross.” (Number 21:4-9 & John 3:14-15) Mary gasped as fear gripped her heart, “what are you saying?”, Jesus grabbed her hand and said: “It must be done so that everyone who believes will receive eternal life.” Mary collapsed into Jesus’ arms sobbing as His family and disciples looked at Him with confusion and concern. Jesus’ heart felt heavy with the burden and He murmured: “You MUST always remember that the light shines brightly in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it”.

For the rest of the day Jesus’ family wandered around in a daze of confusion while Jesus took His disciples to the nearby hills to teach and encourage them. As they gathered on the highest hill, He sat with them and declared: “To this world, which is shrouded in darkness, you are the light. Just like a light on a hill cannot be hidden your light will shine for all to see. When it becomes dark inside our homes, we quickly light the lamp and place it on the table for all to gather around. We do not light the lamp and place it in a basket under the bed where it would be of no benefit, no we place it where all can see and gain benefit from its light. So will be the same for you, people will gather around your light and you must never hide it. Let your good deeds shine forth brightly for all to see, for your works will draw everyone to praise our heavenly Father.” Jesus looked around and made eye contact with each of His disciples before continuing: “you are the salt of the earth. Preserve well the words you hear from me and the works I reveal. Remember that salt is only useful if it still has its flavour, keep to my teachings. Do not become like salt without flavour, for it is quickly discarded. Food tastes best with the right amount of salt, too much and it is inedible but too less and the flavour is not changed at all.” Jesus spent time answering the many questions the disciples had and as the sun began to sink they made their way back to the others.

As darkness fell Nicodemus sought out Jesus, as a Pharisee he knew the laws and had awaited the Messiah with great anticipation. The reports that he heard about Jesus pointed to Him being the One they had waited for and Nicodemus was curious. As they sat and chatted Nicodemus asked: “Rabbi, I believe that God has sent You to teach us. I have seen the miracles You’ve performed and I know that God is with You. What is it that You want us to know?” Jesus looked intently into Nicodemus’ eyes and thought of the various things He longed to say and reveal, praying for wisdom He eventually replied: “I tell you the truth, unless you’re born again you cannot enter the Kingdom of God”. Nicodemus looked at Jesus confused “how is this possible? Even a small child cannot enter its mother’s womb to be born again.”. Jesus lovingly replied: “I assure you that no one can enter into My Father’s Kingdom without being born again through water and the Spirit. Humans reproduce human life but the Holy Spirit births spiritual life. That is why I say: ‘you MUST be born again’. Think of the wind that blows where it wishes, you can hear it but you can’t tell where it is coming from or going to, the same goes for the Spirit.”. The more Jesus talked the more confused Nicodemus became, “I really don’t understand, how is it possible?”. Jesus smiled kindly and replied: “Nicodemus you’re a respected and well-known teacher but yet you do not understand the deep meaning of the Scriptures. I assure you and most solemnly declare that I speak of eternal truths, I speak of things I’ve known, experienced and believe in. My testimony has no faults but yet you struggle to believe. If you do not believe Me when I speak of earthly things, then how can I possible reveal the heavenly realm to you?” Jesus paused and Nicodemus replied, “I want to understand, please be patient with me.” Jesus smiled and nodded, “No one has ever gone into the heavenly realm and returned but the Son of man has come down. God loves the world with an incomprehensible love, so much that He has gifted His one and only Son. All who believe in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God has sent His Son not to judge and condemn the world but to save it. Those who believe in God’s beloved Son will no longer live under condemnation and the Light of the world will flood them with life and hope.” Jesus sat back and watched as Nicodemus tried to process all that he had heard. They chatted late into the night with Jesus patiently unpacking all that He had revealed. (John 3:1-21)

Notes:

To find out more about Capernaum visit Bible Walks.

Thank you for your patience. I received some great insights as I spent time in the mountains. I will use the timeline obtained from the Bible History website as a guide but I also feel prompted to try and collate chapters into themes, therefore my chapters may not seem to unfold with great historical accuracy but I pray that the story will still greatly impact your heart. Thanks for sharing this journey with me!

Many blessings, Keona

 

Doubt

I’ve just finished watching a sermon titled: “Doubt”, 14th April 2019, by Petty Mudzingwa at C3. Petty is a friend of mine and I love her wisdom. I’ve put together the notes from the sermon as well as a few of my own thoughts. I pray that it is a great encouragement to you.

Jesus’ last words: “it is finished” sound like “I am finished”.

Trapped between a mountain and the Red Sea do you:

  • doubt,
  • get discouraged,
  • disappointed
  • or feel deserted?

The 4 d’s: doubt, discouraged, disappointed and deserted.

Sometimes we doubt and question God when:

  • the battles are the roughest and toughest ever fought
  • or when the burdens are the heaviest ever carried
  • or the wait for a prophecy or promises seems unbearable
  • or when pain increases rather than healing coming
  • or when things do not make sense

John the Baptist was doubting Jesus: “When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”” Matthew 11:2-5 NIV

 “Is this what you were expecting? Then count yourselves most blessed!”” Matthew 11:6 MSG

John touched Jesus when he baptised Him, John saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus and John heard the voice of God declare: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased and delighted!” (Matthew 3:17b Amplified Bible)

But John couldn’t see any miracle coming, there were no signs of release so his faith was being tested and tried. John reviewed the checklist from Isaiah 61:1-3: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to”:

  • proclaim good news to the poor
  • bind up the brokenhearted
  • freedom for the captives
  • release from darkness for the prisoners
  • the year of the Lord’s favour
  • the day of vengeance of our God
  • comfort all who mourn
  • beauty instead of ashes
  • joy for mourning
  • garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair

John wasn’t released so how was Jesus the fulfiller of the prophecy? John had unmet needs and started doubting so he sends a message through his disciples to Jesus because John wanted confirmation.

Doubt brings up questions because it requires more information and clarity.

Doubt can result in unbelief.

Jesus knows our struggles and that doubt resolved becomes faith.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God, we need to hear the gospel every day. We all waver and we need to be encouraged and strengthened by someone’s testimony. Which means that we need to share our testimony as well to build other people’s faith, we need to be like Aaron and Hur and hold other’s arms up.

When we’re stuck, we can ask: “When is my breakthrough coming?”

Many others have doubted before us:

  • Sarah doubted becoming a mother
  • Moses doubted being the deliverer
  • John was doubting as he was stuck in prison

We need to find the root cause of the problem – doubt.

James 1:6 explains that when we ask for things with doubt we are thrown about like a stormy sea: “Just make sure you ask empowered by confident faith without doubting that you will receive. For the ambivalent person believes one minute and doubts the next. Being undecided makes you become like the rough seas driven and tossed by the wind. You’re up one minute and tossed down the next.” James 1:6 The Passion Translation

Doubts is like a weight and we need to throw it off so we can press on, see Hebrews 12:1.

FAITH

Live by faith for the just shall live by faith (see Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11 & Hebrews 10:38)

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.” Corrie Ten Boom.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1  NIV

“Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen” Hebrews 11:1 The Passion Translation

Trusting God that when He promises something then He will fulfil it! Walk by faith and not by sight. Decree and Declare!

Jesus has felt forsaken like us so we can readily pray for forgiveness and assistance: “God forgive me for doubting, help me, please remove my doubt and unbelief.” (see Mark 9:23-25).

Trust and obey

Trust and obey and God for He will transform your test into a testimony; your mess into a message; He will take you from the prison to palace; and HE will turn your doubt into confidence and faith!

Jesus is aware of our ‘prison’ situations and can set us free!

Jesus is EVERYTHING we need!

Genesis – He is the Creator

Exodus – He is the Redeemer

Leviticus – He is the Sanctifier

Numbers – He is our Guide

Deuteronomy – He is our Teacher

Joshua – He is the mighty Conqueror

Judges – He gives victory over enemies

Ruth – He is the Kingsman, Lover and Redeemer

1 Samuel – He is the root of Jesse

2 Samuel – He is the Son of David

1 & 2 Kings – He is the King of kings and Lord of lords

1 & 2 Chronicles – He is our Intercessor, our High Priest

Ezra – He is our temple, our house of worship

Nehemiah – He is the mighty wall protecting us from our enemies

Esther – He stands in the gap to deliver us from our enemies

Job – He is the arbitrator who not only understands our struggles, but He does something about them!

Psalms – He is our song, our reason to sing

Proverbs – He is our wisdom helping us make sense of life and live it successfully

Ecclesiastes – He delivers us from vanity

Song of Songs – He is our Lover, our rose of Sharon

Isaiah – He is the mighty Counsellor, Prince of Peace and everlasting Father

Jeremiah – He is the balm of Gilead

Lamentations – He is the forever faithful One, upon whom we can depend!

Ezekiel – He is the One who assures us that dead dry bones shall live again

Daniel – He is the ancient of days, who never runs out of time

Hosea – He is our faithful lover always beckoning us to come back to Him

Joel – He is our refuge keeping us safe in times of trouble

Amos – He is the husbandman whom we can depend on to stand by our side

Obadiah – He is the Lord of the kingdom

Jonah –   He our salvation bringing us back into His will

Micah – He is the judge of the nations, a jealous God

Habakkuk – He is the Holy One

Zephaniah – He is a witness

Haggai – He overthrows enemies

Zechariah – He is the Lord of hosts

Malachi – He is merciful

Matthew – He is the King of the Jews

Mark – He is the servant

Luke – He is the Son of man feeling what we feel

John – He is the Son of God

Acts – He is the Saviour of the world

Romans – He is the righteousness of God

1 Corinthians – He followed Israel

2 Corinthians – He is the triumphant one giving us victory

Galatians – He is our liberty, setting us free

Ephesians – He is the head of the church

Philippians – He is our joy

Colossians – He is our completeness

1 & 2 Thessalonians – He is our hope

1 Timothy – He is our faith

2 Timothy – He is our stability

Titus – He is the Truth

Philemon – He is our benefactor

Hebrews – He is our perfection

James – He is the power behind our faith

1 Peter – He is our example

2 Peter – He is our purity

1 John – He is our life

2 John – He is our pattern

3 John – He is our motivation

Jude – He is the foundation of our faith

Revelations – He is the coming King!

Believe again in the powerful and mighty name of Jesus.

“When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

I pray that this sermon encourages and spurs you on.

Many blessings, Keona

 

Notes:

YouTube Sermon link 

Live by faith: The Bible verses noted are from BibleGateway.com. If you would like to read more about this Christian Courier has an article written by Wayne Jackson.

Martin Luther King Jnr: For more quote by Martin Luther King Jnr check out the following links: blog.capterra.com & www.crosswalk.com

Corrie Ten Boom: The quote by Corrie Ten Boom was found at AZ Quotes.

 

God’s Love, a word of encouragement

My family and I are blessed to have a home with stunning water views, on a clear day we can see a long way across the bay to cliffs.

Recently a fog rolled in and I couldn’t see past the railing of my balcony, the view was completely obscured from view.

fog 1

If you had visited me that day you might not have believed my gorgeous view.

God spoke to me as I looked out into the mist.

He said that the fog of sickness and circumstances in my life had obscured me from seeing God’s love. When I was in the depths of despair I felt so distant from God’s love. I couldn’t see it and I definitely couldn’t feel it. All I could see and feel was overwhelming defeat.

As I sat and looked out at the fog and prayed a wonderful thing happened- slowly and steadily the fog rolled back. At first the rooftops came into view, then the edge of the water, then iron pot and finally the cliffs on the far side.

As I sat and watched I knew that’s what God had done in my life. When sickness trapped me in bed God healed me and bit by bit and He has been restoring my strength. Each day I’m feeling more of His gracious love and His great goodness.

I share this with you because I want to encourage you that even though it feels like it there is a wonderful promise that NOTHING can separate us from God’s love. When you’re surrounded by the fog of despair His love is still there!

I know this because of what God has shown me and its confirmed in Romans 8:38-39: So now I live with great confidence, in fact I’m convinced beyond any doubt, that there is nothing in the universe that has the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m truly convinced that His unlimited passionate love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels and all created things. I know that Jesus has conquered our past, is at work in our present and will triumph in our future. Because God’s extravagant love is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!

I want to encourage you today that if circumstances or situations have you feeling trapped in a fog that is obscuring your view of God and feeling His love then please hold tight. Declare that there is NOTHING that can separate you from God’s love and allow Him to roll back that fog from your heart and mind.

I’ve been battling a bit of a writing fog when it comes to ‘The Greatest Story’ but I’ve set aside some time next week so I’ll try to get back on-track with it after Easter. Thanks for your patience, prayers appreciated.

Many blessings, Keona

Picture – Pixabay

 

Marriage: leaving and cleaving.

This week hubby and I celebrate 23 years of marriage, which is terribly exciting! I cannot begin to say how grateful I am for Trav’s love, his support and care for me over the past 23+ years (we’ve been together for 28 years) has been amazing and in particular the past intense 5 years. The challenges we’ve faced have been difficult and confronting but looking back I realise that God’s grace has been at work helping us each step of the way. This reminds me of the promise in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that God’s grace is all we need in our time of trial, for His great power works best in weakness. I see that now but I did not see it at the beginning because when I laid in bed, barely able to get out, I could not see how God was at work.

My dear friend Elisa sent me a link to the song ‘Gracefully Broken’ and the following lyrics really helped me to process the season I’m in:

“Your power at work in me

I’m broken gracefully

I’m strong when I am weak

I will be free”

My weakness has forced me to rely COMPLETELY upon the only One who is always strong – God. As I’ve allowed Him to break away all the bits of my life that have needed to be destroyed, I’ve discovered a new level of freedom.  I asked God to show me something in regards to my marriage and I was surprised when He asked me to look more into leaving and cleaving. Here is the journey God took me on:

I was talking to a friend about being homesick and I shared with her that when my kids were little I was DESPERATE to move back to the NW coast to be with family. But with Trav being the main earner the right job just wasn’t there. For at least a decade every visit home would leave me feeling depressed, I’d feel a heaviness hit my heart the moment I got into the car and it would grow with the distance. For days after I’d be so annoyed, sad and mad that we lived so far away. I asked God many times for a door to open. Early into my deep inner healing journey I discovered a truth that helped me so much, I realized that closed doors can be God’s sovereign protection. I love how Lysa TerKeurst explains it:

“When God says no, we are sometimes tempted to wonder if He loves us. In reality, it’s because He loves us, He sometimes says no. Instead of feeling like it’s the end of the world, we can remember His no may simply mean not now, not yet, not necessarily, or not in your best interest. Let’s stand on His Promise of love so we don’t get deceived with doubt in this process. And let’s trust His best for us is on the way!”

I see now that we are called to be here, that God has a plan and a purpose in this. So what is this leaving and cleaving all about? In Genesis 2:23-24 Adam proclaims: “Finally! At last, this one is one of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She will be called ‘woman’ because she is taken from ‘man’.” The verse finishes with this statement: this explains why a man leaves his father and mother to be joined with his wife, the two are united into one.

Ted Cunningham explains that we are to leave home physically, relationally, emotionally, financially, spiritually and sometimes geographically.

  • Physically (and sometimes geographically) – you move out of your family’s home and that can sometimes be some distance away.
  • Relationally – Your preferred person in life is now your spouse.
  • Emotionally – process a decision through with your spouse taking into account their feelings. Don’t allow your parent’s emotions or opinions cloud your decision making.
  • Financially – blaze your own financial trail.
  • Spiritually – It is a personal faith in Jesus saves you, not just your family’s faith.

These are points I’ve found so helpful. I am extremely grateful that God is so patient with me and as I look towards the future I’m grateful that I can learn, grow and encourage others.

Here is my prayer:

Lord Jesus, You dealt with the root of all issue – sin. You defeated it and I no longer need to be a slave to sin. Lord, please help me to leave behind my old ways and cleave to You – to be set apart for You. I ask You to unite me deeper with my husband, I’m so grateful for him because he is such a blessing to me. Thank You for Your truly amazing grace that sustains us and works in our moments of weakness. Thank You for being our strength and refuge in life’s storms and trials. Lord smile upon us and be gracious towards us (Number 6:25). May the grace of our Lord Jesus and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit continually teach us (2 Corinthians 13:14). In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

Blessings, Keona

Notes:

‘Gracefully Broken’ by Matt Redman YouTube link

““At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’” This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” Genesis 2:23-24 NLT

“Then Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” GENESIS 2:23-24 AMP

“The Man said, “Finally! Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh! Name her Woman for she was made from Man.” Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh. The two of them, the Man and his Wife, were naked, but they felt no shame.” Genesis 2:23-25 MSG

The Greatest Story – Part 14: Water into Wine

The next day Jesus was walking through town when John the Baptist called out: ‘Look! I see the Lamb of God!’, then John’s two disciples quickly followed after Jesus. He turned around when He noticed them following Him and asked: ‘what is it that you want?’ Andrew (Simon-Peter’s brother) and Philip exchanged a glance and Andrew replied: ‘Rabbi we wondered where You were staying.’ Jesus replied: ‘come and I’ll show you.’. They made their way through the narrow streets and then gathered into the small room as Jesus patiently spent time teaching and sharing what was on His heart. Late into the night Jesus looked intently at Simon and declared: ‘you will be called Cephas’ Peter looked at Him with surprise ‘Lord do You mean rock or Peter?’ Jesus smiled ‘You will see’.

After a refreshing night’s sleep Jesus set out to find Phillip and invited him to join him, Philip readily agreed and went searching for Nathanael to tell him to good news. It wasn’t a hard search and Phillip excitedly declared: ‘We’ve found the person Moses and the great prophets spoke about! His name is Jesus, to son of Joseph from Nazareth!’, Nathanael looked at him with surprise ‘Nazareth? I haven’t heard of anything good coming from there!’ Phillip urged him: ‘please come and meet Him, see for yourself.’. As Nathanael approached Jesus he heard Him declare: ‘now here comes a genuine son of Israel, a true descendant of Jacob. Here is a man of complete integrity, there is no deceit hidden in his heart.’ Nathanael looked at Jesus with surprise ‘how do You know all this about me?’ Jesus smiled and replied: ‘I saw you under the fig tree long before Phillip found you.’ Nathanael fell onto his knees and proclaimed; ‘Rabbi! You are the new King of Israel. You are the One we have waited for, the Son of God!’ Jesus pulled Nathanael to his feet ‘do you really believe all of that?’ Nathanael nodded with tears of joy flowing down his face, Jesus looked intently into his eyes ‘do you believe just because of what I said?’ Nathanael shook his head and replied: ‘I know You are Him.’ Jesus smiled ‘Oh you will see great things! You will see the heavens open and sight heavenly beings, you will understand that I’m the stairway between heaven and earth.’. The other disciples didn’t understand what Jesus was saying but a deep revelation hit Nathanael’s heart and he embraced Jesus.

After another late night of teaching Jesus and His disciples finally managed a few hours of sleep. Wearily they awoke and made their way to a wedding celebration in Cana. When they arrived Mary smiled as her gaze fell upon Jesus, she quickly ran to Him and embraced Him. After a short time chatting the formalities began and the large crowd settled down to witness the ceremony. The wedding feast was a sight to behold, tables were laden with the finest foods and people greedily ate their fill. The wine flowed freely and the mood was merry and light. Late in the night Mary noticed that the groom’s mother seemed anxious and concerned, she made her way over ‘is everything ok?’ the lady turned and tried to smile ‘um..’ Mary could see her reluctance and pulled her to a quiet corner of the room ‘I’d like to help if I can.’ The groom’s mother smiled ‘Oh Mary you’ve already helped so much, I don’t want to burden you further.’ Mary grabbed her hand and replied: ‘if I can help I will, just tell me what the concern is, please.’ The groom’s mother reluctantly shared that they had no idea so many people would arrive, looking quite embarrassed she continued to explain that they were almost out of wine. Mary gasped she knew that if that happened the family would be disgraced and much shame would fall upon the newlyweds, the words that she had often heard Rabbi’s declare rung in her ears: ‘Without wine there is no joy!’. Oh dear she could see the dilemma that the family faced, Mary assured the groom’s mother that she would do all that she could and made her way to Jesus.  Stooping down she whispered in His ear: ‘there is no more wine.’ Jesus looked at her puzzled ‘that is not my concern.’ Mary insisted that He help but He replied: ‘Mother, it is simply NOT My time yet.’ Mary smiled, patted Jesus’ hand and walked to the nearest servants. Within listening distance to Jesus she pointed to Him and said: ‘Please do WHATEVER He tells you to do.’, she smiled at Jesus and sauntered away. The servants quickly raced to Jesus and looked intently to Him for instruction. Jesus sighed and prayed quietly before instructing them: ‘fill those jars with water’, Jesus indicated to the six stone jars that were nearby. The servants looked at Him a bit puzzled ‘we use those for the ceremonial washing which has been completed.’ Jesus sighed and patiently replied: ‘please just fill them with water.’ The servants nodded and quickly filled the jars. When the jars were full Jesus instructed them to take some out and present it to the master of ceremonies. The servant closest quickly obliged but Jesus could see his hand shaking as he carried the cup, walking up to the master of ceremonies the servant bowed and presented the cup. The man tasted it and exclaimed: ‘Oh how wonderful!’, beckoning the bridegroom over he declared: ‘a host always serves the best wine first and when people have had their fill they usually bring out the less expensive wine.’ Taking another sip he continued: ‘but you have kept the best until now and what a pleasure it is to taste!’. The master of ceremonies slapped the bridegroom on the back and loudly declared that the best wine was now being served. The crowd let out a loud shout and Mary winked at Jesus. The servants stood amazed and looked at Jesus with curiosity, they dared not question the fact that it was only water that had been served to the master of ceremonies, or was it? The servants gathered around the jugs they were serving from and smelt the surprising scent of a rich wine, they looked at each other with slight fear gripping their hearts, who was this Jesus?

Notes:

You read the wedding story in the Bible: John 2:1-12.

For more details about the importance of not running out of wine you can read the sermon ‘What Do You Do When The Wine Runs Out’ by Steven Spence, found at faithlife.com.

Also Biblehub.com has several commentaries that delve into this story.

The disciples can be found mentioned in: John 1:35-50; the first Disciples called: Matthew 4:18-22 & Mark 1:16-20 & Luke 5:1-11; and the 12 Apostles (Matthew 10:1-4 & Mark 2:13-19 & Luke 6:12-16). Those I haven’t mentioned yet I’m sure will weave their way in soon.

Picture – Pixabay