Blessed Assurance

Things feel a bit crazy right now, in these escalating uncertain and unprecedented times it is comforting to know that stability can be found, we can hold onto hope and find blessed assurance because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV)

Earlier this week (17/3/2030) I awoke with “Isaiah 49” running through my head. Now I have to admit it wasn’t a section of my Bible that I was familiar with, so I did a bit of digging and found such treasures:

  • Spiritual awakening
  • Spiritual sustenance
  • Unfailing faithfulness
  • Countless reasons to praise

Spiritual awakening

In Isaiah 49:9a (NKJV) a challenge is issued: “…say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’” I asked God to awaken me and for those who are in spiritual darkness to come into the light of the Saviour1. Let us awaken, awaken to God’s call. Let us rise and rally, shining His light to the world around us. Let us show calmness in the chaos, peace within the panic and walk with a blessed assurance (see Hebrews 10:22).

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of his spirit, washed in his blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.2

Spiritual sustenance

The second part of Isaiah 49:9 promises us sustenance. Blessed assurance that we shall find, in the dusty paths of common life and in all the smallnesses and distractions of daily duty, nourishment for our spirits. Let us grasp the fullness of spiritual sustenance which lies in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and then go to work on the basis of that life-changing Gospel, then we ‘shall feed in the ways’3.   I found such comfort to know that in the dryness and the distractions Jesus IS the abundant Life giver, the One who releases spiritual sustenance. I prayed that He would feed me my daily bread (Matthew 6:11) and water me, revive and refresh me, each and every moment of the day (John 6:35).

Unfailing faithfulness

As I read Isaiah 49:15-16 I found a promise that even if others forget me God never does, He promises that He will NEVER ever forget us for He has inscribed us upon His palms. A praise bubbled up and I thanked Him for His great faithfulness! God’s nurturing love is tender and gentle, He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness, grace and truth (Psalms 86:15).

Faithful God
You hold my life secure
All my days are Yours
4

 Countless reasons to praise

Isaiah 49:13 (NKJV) is a call to worship:

“Sing, O heavens!

Be joyful, O earth!

And break out in singing, O mountains!

For the Lord has comforted His people,

And will have mercy on His afflicted.”

Let us (all the earth) shout for joy, joining the heavens.

Let us break forth into singing, with the mountains!

For the LORD has comforted His people

and He will have compassion on His afflicted.

(Isaiah 49:13  Amplified paraphrased).

In response to the call to worship I created a playlist:

  1. Shout to the Lord – Hillsong
  2. Let there be Light – Hillsong
  3. Shine on us – Ultimate Tracks
  4. God my Deliverer – Awakening Music
  5. We will not be shaken – Bethel Music & Brian Johnson
  6. Under the shadow of Your wings – Chris Bowater
  7. Shadow of Your wings – Jeff Nelson
  8. Hope is alive – Kristene DiMarco
  9. Jesus, we love You – Bethel Music & Paul McClure
  10. Faithful – Elevation Worship
  11. Faithfulness (feat. Steffany Gretzinger) – Matt Maher
  12. Great is Thy faithfulness – Selah
  13. Spirit Medley – Steve Green
  14. Do it again – Elevation Worship
  15. Healer – Bethel Music feat. Leah Valenzuela
  16. Won’t stop now – Elevation Worship
  17. He Reigns – African Music Experience
  18. See a victory – Elevation Worship
  19. Yes and Amen – Housefires

Which you can listen to/ watch via YouTube:

Come on! Let’s get our praise on!

Would you like some blessed assurance?

Here is a prayer I’ve compiled from Psalm 91:

Almighty God, my family and I run to the shelter of You. We hide in the secret place of the Most High. There in Your shadow we remain secure; You’re our refuge and fortress; our God in Whom we trust with great confidence; and the One Whom we completely rely upon! Lord rescue my family and I from every hidden trap of the enemy and from the perilous pestilence. Completely cover and protect us with Your pinions, for under Your wings we find refuge. Your faithfulness is a shield and a wall around us. We never need to be afraid of the terror of night, when a spirit of darkness comes against us. Nor do we need to fear the arrows that fly at us during the day, the destruction that lays waste at noon. For in a time of disaster, with thousands and thousands being killed beside us, we will remain unscathed and unharmed for danger will not come near. We will be spectators witnessing the divine judgement as the wicked fall, watching safely from the shelter of the Most High. Evil cannot prevail against us; nor disease infect us; nor shall any plague come near our dwelling because God sends His angels with special orders to protect us wherever we go, defending us from ALL harm. Even if we do walk into a trap, God’s angels will be there for us, catching us as we stumble. We can walk unharmed among the fiercest powers of darkness, trampling every enemy beneath our feet! Because we have set our love upon the Lord God Almighty, He will deliver us and set us in a high place where we are safe and secure. When we call upon the name of our Lord Jesus He will hear and answer us. He will be with us in our time of pressure and in all troubles, rescuing and honouring us. God will release to us a full life: we will enjoy the fullness of His salvation! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.5

I pray You’re encouraged and that blessed assurance floods your heart.

Many blessings, Keona

Notes

  1. Isaiah 49:9 Amplified paraphrased.
  2. The lyrics of the wonderful hymn “Blessed Assurance”, read more about it at The United Methodist Church Discipleship Ministries.
  3. Extract from McClaren’s Expositions slightly paraphrased.
  4. Part lyrics of “Faithful God” by Gateway, full lyrics at Genius.com & 21 more scriptures based on God’s faithfulness.
  5. To compile the Psalm 91 prayer I studied the Amplified, The Passion Translation and the New King James Version.

Feature image from Pixabay

Joker movie and anxiety

I recently watched the new movie ‘Joker’ and it got me thinking. Warning if you’re planning to watch the movie there may be some spoilers below.

What does anxiety look like?

In the movie Joaquin Phoenix does an amazing job to challenge viewer to look at anxiety in a very confronting way. The following that he displayed are things that I’ve experienced or witnessed:

  • leg shaking, but really any body part can be used in an attempt to vent the pent-up emotions. Think of it as being like a kettle needing to let out the steam or explode.
  • uncontrolled laughter. In the movie I could hear the pain behind Arthur’s laughter, I saw him struggle to control it as he covered his mouth; coughed; and clutched at his throat unable to breathe. This is probably the most embarrassing and misunderstood aspect of anxiety. I vividly remember the looks of disgust the few times it happened to me as I laughed at the most inappropriate moments of a conversation.
  • loneliness, anxiety leaves you scared to go out or to have people visit and so life can become so lonely and isolated. Arthur tries to relieve the lonely hours by watching tv. Desperately longing for connection and recognition he even creates fake scenarios and relationships.
  • lack of appetite, in the movie Arthur appears to be underweight and he cooks for his mum but doesn’t seem to eat any himself. I’ve experienced the other extreme and been an emotional eater (overeaten or comfort eaten)  in the past.
  • catatonic, the inability to move or respond because the situation has become overwhelming. Confronting for those witnessing, terrifying for those experiencing it as you’re left utterly vulnerable.

These are just a few ways that anxiety can look and it looks vastly different for each person.

Split personality?

I watched the dramatic results of a broken mental health system outworked during the movie. Arthur expressed that he felt unheard by his counsellor/social worker but to then be left with no support, due to lack of funding, spiralled him out of control.

I sensed that the Joker persona grew out of that but also Arthur’s desperate desire for connection and recognition. He seemed to try so hard to fit in, to work and care for his mum, but he was misunderstood and mistreated.

When he commits his first crime he is hailed as a hero and his violent action started an uprising. Finally, he sees that he is heard and seen and relishes in the attention like a thirsty man gulping down water. I cringed and felt like crying, my heart cried out: “oh if only he had been helped, if only he had been truly loved, if only he’d been acknowledged, if only ….”

Justified?

The most disturbing parts of the movie for me were the graphic killings. I’ve never been a blood and gore girl and nowadays it can take weeks for the images to leave my mind. I’m also often plagued by nightmares after watching something violent.

I felt that the movie was tying to justify the violent actions that Joker took because he hurt the people who had hurt or betrayed him, but I  find the concept of taking another person’s life confronting. I remember during my psych interview (during my Army Reserves recruiting interview) I stated that even though I am a Christian I believe that if I killed someone while defending myself or another person I’d be justified in my actions. The Bible states that there is “A time to kill” Ecclesiastes 3:3a (NKJV) and the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentry explains that this relates judicially – towards criminals; or in wars – self-defence; not in malice as this is then murder. But I’m not so confident about my answer given at the psych interview anymore, it  hurts my heart to think of anyone dying before their time especially because Jesus came that NONE should perish (2 Peter 3:9), if people die before they get the chance to hear the Good News … well it’s just awful to think about.

I just pray that I’m never confronted with the awful choice. And I pray that society can see the value that each person’s life has, I truly believe in a God of redemption and that means that even the worst life can be turned around, all for God’s glory.

Help available

Understand that I’m not an expert on mental health, this has simply been my observations. Anxiety looks vastly different for many people, if you’re struggling PLEASE reach out to someone, and discuss your struggles with your GP. There are many people trained to help you, here are a couple:

Lifeline 13 11 14

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 plus they have online forums, an online chat and an email contact. For more details check out their webpage.

Set free

Please know that Jesus can set you free because He came to make us whole. I know this because I walk in greater freedom each and every day, I see anxiety losing its grip upon me and I praise God for the work He’s doing.

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” Romans 8:15-16 (NKJV)

Many blessings, Keona

 

word of encouragement – priceless

27th Sept 2019 I awoke from a dream where I’d been desperately trying to convince someone of how much value they had. I declared that God took absolute delight in them.

I awoke with intense emotions running through me and throughout the day I cried, prayed, fretted, cleaned, sung worship songs, and napped due to the exhaustion of it all. I was exhausted and emotional because the dream had highlighted that I can easily see someone else’s value, but I struggle to see my own.

By the end of the day God had showed me, in so many ways, that I’m priceless to Him!

Today you might be feeling worthless, struggling to see your value, and if you are then I desperately want you to know that God takes absolute delight in you! 

Please know that you’re MORE precious to Him than you can possibly imagine.

God sees you as a priceless treasure!

Today I want you to reject every lie that has been spoken over you by others or by yourself because you’re priceless, irreplaceable, incomparable!

You’re not here by some accident, NO you’re part of God’s divine and beautiful plan.
You’re rare, unique and you have such value that it cannot be calculated or measured in any earthly amount! God desperately desire for you to know this.

He longs to lavish His love upon you, simply receive it!

“Look with wonder at the depth of the Father’s marvelous love that he has lavished on us! He has called us and made us his very own beloved children.” 1 John 3:1a TPT

Here is a prayer you can pray:

Holy Spirit today I ask for You to impart to me the gift of understanding so that I may have the power to understand how incredible God’s love is.

Help me to grasp how wide God’s love is.

Grant me the capacity to understand how high God’s love is.

Grant me the ability to comprehend how deep God’s love is.

Let me recognize how amazing and endless God’s love is.

Even though it is too great to understand fully I long to experience the love of Christ for then I’ll be made complete.

Almighty God breathe upon me once again, please come and fill my entire being with all the FULLNESS of life and power that comes from You! (Ephesians 3:18-19).

 

Many blessings, Keona

‘Priceless’ by For King and Country lyrics video

Awaken Warrior

I love the movie “War Room” and there is a scene where one of the characters declares: “I see in you a warrior that needs to be awakened.” I’ve found it easy to slumber, to become so worn down and weary by disappointment as I latch onto the lie that God doesn’t respond. I’ve journeyed into a dangerous place where I was trapped in spiritual slumber, a place where I forgot the most powerful ability I have is prayer. I’ve lived out the words from the wonderful hymn “What a Friend we have in Jesus”:

O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Peace is forfeited and needless pain I bear when I forget that I can pour out my heart to God in prayer, I can plead for His help AND I can stand and fight in prayer! I desperately want to be awakened more and as I reflect on Father’s Day I pray that men and women are awakened. Father’s Day is an opportunity to bestow honour upon the men in our lives and one way that we can do that is to pray for them, to lift them and their needs to God knowing that He hears and responds.

Courageous Warriors

Let’s pray for the men around us to arise as courageous warriors, to have the insight and courage that Caleb and Joshua had. When these 2 men saw the insurmountable task ahead of them, they displayed an amazing amount of courage and faith. Instead of giving into fear they boldly declared: “let’s surge ahead for we will certainly conquer! If the Lord is pleased with us, He will bring us through the battle safely. Come on let’s go because what’s ahead is truly wonderful! Do not rebel against the Lord, don’t be afraid, for the Lord is with us!” (See Numbers‬ ‭13:30, 14:6-9‬). They urged those around them to grasp hold of the promises of God, to stand upon them AND act on those sure steadfast promises. It takes courage to lead and men are called to lead families. I pray they realize that the Lord is with them, guiding and directing them forward.

Helpful Warriors

Another way that we women can honour the men in our lives is to be who God created us to be – helpmates. In Genesis 2:18 God recognised that it wasn’t good for man to be alone and made a helper fit for him. Does that mean that women don’t have equal value or the opportunity to lead? StudyLight.org suggest that women have the ability to declare, teach, expound and reveal, and to be a pioneering leader out in front because as the new creation (woman) was created being neither inferior nor superior, but equal. Then going onto refer to 1 Peter 3:7 which explains that we are fellow heirs: men are to treat their wives with great gentleness, tenderness and tact. Husbands are to show their wives honour and respect for they are a fellow heir of the grace of life. With a warning that if they don’t do this then their prayers will be hindered or ineffective.
As wives we can make our husband’s leadership of us easy by living out 1 Peter 3: we are to be devoted to our husband, encourage him and enjoy him because he is a blessing from God. Our kind and godly conduct will win over our husband without us saying a word; we’re to let our true beauty come from the inside (a gentle and peaceful spirit) because that is much more precious in God’s sight than the most beautiful piece of jewellery or adornment we own; we’re to be submissive to our husband by entrusting ourselves to him knowing that he is accountable to God.
I pray that women rise up as helpful Warriors because God created women to be helpmates.

Warrior Families

It is my hope and prayer that men and women embrace the reflection of God that they were created to be, that they become more and more like Jesus, and live their lives flowing with the fruits of the Spirit. That husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, would raise up a mighty generation that truly knows and serves the Lord. That they would lift their voices in unity to declare: “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua ‭24:15‬b (AMP‬‬)

Let’s pray:

Father God, help us to embrace the reflection of God that we were created to be. Change and mould us to become more and more like Jesus. Holy Spirit impact our lives so that we flow with the fruits of the Spirit: an unselfish concern for others (love); inner peace (joy); the ability to wait well (patience); a sincere desire for the happiness of others and to outwork that by helping others (kindness); integrity, honesty and morality (goodness); that we be known for being devoted, loyal and stable (faithfulness); that we are tender-hearted and mildly mannered (gentleness); and we reveal the ability to control ourselves, our emotions and desires, especially in difficult situations (self-control). (Galatians 5: 22-23)
We pray a blessing upon the men around us, Lord help them to arise as courageous warriors, men who instil courage and confidence into those around them. Release to men their God-given voices, help them to grasp hold of the promises of God, to stand upon them AND act on those sure steadfast promises. Holy Spirit help husbands to treat their wives with great gentleness, tenderness and tact. To show their wives honour and respect so that their prayers will not be hindered or ineffective. (1 Peter 3:7)
We pray that women rise up as helpful warriors because God created women to be helpmates. Holy Spirit help wives to be devoted to their husbands. Let them encourage their husband and enjoy him knowing he is a blessing from God. Let wives display godly conduct in order to win over their husbands without the need of words. Let women embrace their true inner beauty by developing a gentle and peaceful spirit; let them no longer be overanxious but serene and spiritually mature. Help wives to be submissive to their husband by entrusting themselves to him knowing that he is accountable to God.
We lift our voices up in unity to declare: “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” We pray Your will be done in our lives Lord, in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Many blessings,

Keona

Word of encouragement: God’s Strength

As you’ve probably guessed I’ve hit another ‘wall’ with The Greatest Story piece.  I’ve been struggling with lots of different things. A few weeks ago I wasn’t feeling well but I was able to get to my Church’s monthly event called Encounter. I was really struggling because I’d felt prompted to invite God to allow His Word to do a work in me. I could feel God’s piercing gaze and the dividing and cutting away of stuff, which meant that I felt extremely raw and emotional therefore I struggled to speak.

One of the ladies there, Noreen, did an amazing exercise with us which revealed just how connected we are but it also revealed to me that:

  • The times I’m weak someone lends me their strength.
  • The times I have no voice someone will speak for me.
  • When I have no encouragement to give someone will encourage me.

Reminds me of the words that Paul heard when he was struggling: “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (New King James Version)

I know that you’re reading this and you may be struggling, you may feel weak, unable to speak and so discouraged. I know it can be hard to ask for help but Jesus can grant you strength when you’re weak; He will be the voice to speak for you; and be the encouragement to break through your discouragement. Just ask Him for help and He will readily respond.

Inviting God’s Word to do a work in our lives is painful because His Word pierces our hearts, it cuts and it divides. These are all extremely painful things but the piercing highlights an area in our lives that needs to change and if we allow God to cut away and divine those things from our lives we find life everlasting that truly transforms us. For example:

Death can be replaced with life.

The darkest fear can be replaced with a powerful peace.

Weakness can be replaced with strength.

The deepest grief can be replaced with overflowing joy.

Discouragement can be replaced with encouragement.

Doubt can be replaced with faith.

Sickness can be replaced with healing.

Wrong thoughts can be replaced with the right thoughts.

Lies can be replaced with Truth.

All through the mighty name of Jesus and the powerful work of the Holy Spirit.

I pray today that it will be so. Amen.

I’m holding onto those promises tightly and praying God will breakthrough for me in many areas of my life. I started my weekly blog in response to the Call to write. I’ve loved the journey that God has been taking me on and sharing the words given is the greatest privilege. Right now I’m struggling to write the next part of The Greatest Story, I don’t want to do any injustice to the story so I’m taking a break from blogging to do some more research and work on other projects I feel called to concentrate on right now. I pray I’ll have something to share again with you soon.

Thanks for your support and I appreciate your prayers.

Blessings, Keona

Greatest Story Part 19: Like Children

Jesus smiled as the sun’s rays hit His face, what a glorious sunrise it had been. As He had watched the world wake up His spirit had been renewed and revived. The sounds around Him had grown and Jesus knew that His disciples would soon come looking for Him, He rose from His place of prayer and gathered His things. Making His way down He paused to take a look at the hills around Him and smiled as He watched the shepherds gently rousing their sheep, a prayer tumbled forth: ‘Father help me to rouse those around me, empower me to pull them from their slumber.’.

By the time Jesus joined the disciples breakfast was ready and they were eager for the day to start, they quickly ate and made their way to the Temple courtyard, and as the crowds gathered Jesus began to teach. A voice called out: “Rabbi, who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus smiled and called a young child closer, “I tell you the Truth, it is those who turn from their own ways that God smiles upon. Repentance and a humble heart is what He desires. Come to God like a child, trust Him utterly and completely, for that is who the greatest in the Kingdom is.” Jesus could feel the confusion in the crowd and prayed for the right words before continuing: “welcome children into your midst for then you’re welcoming Me also. Take heed that you do not hinder children, do not lead them into sin but teach them how to love the Lord God with all of their hearts, all of their minds and all of their souls. Model this for them and show them the way”. Parents began to press their children forward to be blessed by Jesus and the disciples tried to turn them away, “do not bother the Rabbi, He is teaching.” But Jesus called out: “Please allow them to come, have you not heard what I’ve been saying?” as the children gathered around Him Jesus blessed each one and again called out: “remember the Kingdom of Heaven belong to those such as these, those who are humble and trusting. Do not look down upon them for I assure you that their angels are always in the presence of My heavenly Father. What is done to them is seen and noted, both good and bad deeds are recorded, and you will be responsible for every single act.” Jesus released the children back to their parents and prayed for His words to penetrate hearts: “Become like a child, trust God completely by casting all of your cares and concerns upon Him, for He longs to help. He is a kind and gracious and loving Father; He has compassion upon those who fear Him; and He lavishes His love upon His children.” Jesus turned to face a father and son standing by and asked: “If your son cries out to you in the middle of the night do you ignore him or do you race to his bedside?” the father smiled down at his son “at the sound of his cries I quickly awake and I run to him as fast as I can”. Jesus smiled, “and if he were to ask you for a fish would you give him a snake instead” the father laughed and shook his head “of course not!”. Jesus turned to the crowd, “at the cries of your children you rush to their side to comfort and console them. You work hard to provide for their every need and you grant their requests appropriately.” The crowd nodded and Jesus continued: “if you sinful parents can care and love your children, then why do you doubt that a pure and powerful Father can care and provide for you?” Jesus turned back to the father and looked deeply into his eyes “if your child misbehaves do you ignore his bad behaviour and let him run amuck?”, the father shook his head. Jesus turned to the crowd: “do you allow your children to run off the edge of a cliff? Or stand back as they seek after destruction?”. The crowd murmured and Jesus spoke with great force: “Do not be dismayed if you find yourself being disciplined by God, for He rebukes and corrects those He loves. When He sees you misbehaving or racing along the path of destruction, He lovingly steps in. Only the foolish are quick to ignore loving correction. Do not allow your prideful hearts to harden against wise advice, reveal your great love for God by embracing His correction.” Jesus thought back to the sheep He had seen in the early hours of the morning and again prayed that the words would awaken their hearts, “Don’t be afraid but I urge you today to heed My advice and instruction, for those who love and obey My teachings reveal their love for God. Those who love Me love My Father and He makes a home within their hearts. Know that He longs to give you the Kingdom, in fact it gives Him great joy! So I implore you to passionately seek the Kingdom of God above all else and He will give you all that you need.”

Those whose hearts had been stirred pressed forward and Jesus blessed each one. He invited them to join Him at the river to be baptised and many raced ahead with great excitement.

Notes

The greatest in the Kingdom: Matthew 18:1-10 Mark 9:33-37,

Jesus blessing the children is found in Matthew 19:13-14, Mark 10:13-16 & Luke 18:15-17

God as a loving Father: Psalm 103:13; Proverbs 3:11-12; Proverbs 15:5; Matthew 6:6; Luke 11:11-13; Luke 12:31-32; John 14:23; 1 John 3:1

I’ve featured my most recent sunrise picture captured from my balcony. There is something so wonderful about watching the world wake up, I’m always astounded by the colours that burst forth. No sunrise is ever the same and when I think upon that I smile knowing that God is so clever and creative. Whenever I watch the world transform from darkness to light, as the things around me slowly came alive, it’s a powerful reminder of what God does. It’s also a personal reminder that God is getting me there, bit by bit He is restoring and reviving me, I just need to be patient.

How wonderful it is to trust in Him for God has called us out of the darkness into His wonderful light! See 1 Peter 2:9b

Greatest story Part 18: Celebration

The next day Jesus and the group headed out to participate in the many activities and celebrations taking place. The usually small town had swelled to six times its normal size so getting from place to place was a challenge but despite the overflowing number of people the mood was one of celebration and joy. The only cause for tension was the increased Roman presence in order to keep the large crowds in order. Jesus skillfully wove His way through the crowds, shielding His mother from the pushing and shoving as much as He could. As they gathered in the Temple courtyard the shofar rung out and all paused with awe. The High priest recited the Shema: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NKJV)

The crowd replied: “Blessed are you, O Lord our God.” Another priest stepped forward with a scroll, he gently unrolled it and recited: “The Song of Moses. Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying: “I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is His name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them; they sank to the bottom like a stone. Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power; Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces. And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath; it consumed them like stubble. And with the blast of Your nostrils the waters were gathered together; the floods stood upright like a heap; the depths congealed in the heart of the sea.  The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my desire shall be satisfied on them. I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’ You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters. Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? You stretched out Your right hand; the earth swallowed them. You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation. The people will hear and be afraid; sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling will take hold of them; all the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away. Fear and dread will fall on them; by the greatness of Your arm they will be as still as a stone, till Your people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over whom You have purchased. You will bring them in and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which You have made for Your own dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established. The Lord shall reign forever and ever.” Exodus 15:1-18 (NKJV)

The crowd replied: ‘Blessed are you, O Lord our God. Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will enter into them, I will give thanks unto the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter it.’

The priest continued: “For the horses of Pharaoh went with his chariots and his horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them. But the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea. Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them: “Sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!” Exodus 15:19-21(NKJV)

The crowd replied: “Blessed are you, O Lord our God. Forever worthy of our praise! Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord, to Thee. Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee. Take my voice and let me sing always, only for my King. Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee. Take my silver and my gold not a mite would I withhold. Take my intellect and use every power as you choose. Here am I, all of me. Take my life, it’s all for Thee.

Take my will and make it Thine, it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne. Take my love, my Lord I pour at Your feet its treasure store. Take myself and I will be ever, only all for Thee. Take myself and I will be ever, only all for Thee. Here am I, all of me. Take my life, it’s all for Thee.

Here am I, all of me. Take my life, it’s all for Thee. Here am I, all of me. Take my life, it’s all for Thee. Here am I, all of me. Take my life, it’s all for Thee.”

The next priest stepped forward and gently unrolled his scroll: “David blessed the Lord before all the assembly; and David said: “Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.  Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You. For we are aliens and pilgrims before You, as were all our fathers; our days on earth are as a shadow, and without hope. O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own. I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You. O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You.  And give my son Solomon a loyal heart to keep Your commandments and Your testimonies and Your statutes, to do all these things, and to build the temple for which I have made provision.” Then David said to all the assembly, “Now bless the Lord your God.” So all the assembly blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the Lord and the king. 1 Chronicles 29: 10-20 (NKJV)

The crowd replied: “Blessed are you, O Lord our God. Forever worthy of our praise!” and each person knelt down slowly, lowering their faces to the ground. As their foreheads hit the ground a song of praise rung out: “To You my God is my passion, in You is my desire and love. To You is my heart and my kidneys, to You is my spirit and breath. To You are my hands, to You are my legs and from You is my character. To You myself, to You is my blood and my skin with my body. To You are my eyes and my ideas and my shape and my form. To You is my spirit, to You my strength and my trust and my hope. To You I’ll sob and not resemble until You will illuminate my darkness.  To You I’ll call for, to You I’ll cling until my return to my land. To You is kingship, to You is tide. To You is my craving adoration. To You is help in time of trouble, be my help in time of trouble. And what am I and what is my life? And what is my strength and my power? As a fallen straw pushed aside, and how will You remember my mistake? And hidden light in front of You, let it be my hideout and my abode. And under Your wing’s shade please allow my presence.”

The High priest stood and issued the final blessing: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26 (NKJV)

Jesus and the group wove their way back through the crowds and spent the rest of the day enjoying the celebrations before enjoying a meal together back at Rufus’ home.

Notes:

Written with help from:

https://www.chosenpeople.com/site/passover-in-israel-past-and-present/

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/portrait/temple.html

https://www.thattheworldmayknow.com/he-went-to-synagogue

“OPEN TO ME” Lyrics from Psalm 118:19-20, song lyrics link: http://hebrewsongs.com/?song=pitchuli

“Take My Life”, written by Christopher Tomlin & Louie Giglio. YouTube link.

“TO YOU MY GOD” Lyrics: Rabbi Avraham Ibn Ezra, link: http://www.hebrewsongs.com/?song=lechaeli

‘To You’ Hillsong YouTube clip

This is also a really interesting and in-depth explanation about Passover here:

http://www.jewfaq.org/holidaya.htm

Many blessings, Keona