Here is the message I shared Saturday 21st July 2018 at the inaugural Day of Prayer:
During my season of illness there were many moments where I felt completely disconnected from God, but I’ve gone from feeling disconnected to feeling completely overwhelmed by God’s love. I’m in a season where I’m spending more time with God than ever before. The keys to my refreshing are: worship music and studying God’s Word. As I spend time simply worshipping God my focus shifts from the issues of life to the magnitude and wonder of God. Reading God’s Word, meditating upon verses and then applying them to my life is a process where true transformation happens.
I recently studied Stanley J. Grenz and Jay T. Smith’s book Created for Community: Connecting Christian Belief with Christian Living* and they state that as Christians we need to become “people of the book”, this means that we recognised that the Bible is the foundation of our faith AND it is the source of guidance for our lives – that we allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us through Scripture. Studying the Bible with an open heart allows the Holy Spirt to address us; instruct us in how to live; encourage us; and empower us to love God and others as we should. Through the Bible we are sustained and renewed in our battle against the enemy. The Scriptures guide and direct us to reorientate our goals and aspirations so that they line up with God’s perfect plan for our life. We are taught what we ought to believe and how we ought to act. By placing our lives under the teaching of the Bible we commit ourselves to view the world through eyes informed by Scripture. We must open ourselves to the Spirit and allow Him to bathe our hearts with Scripture until our lives reflect the very mind, character, and vision of Jesus.
There is so much I struggle to understand in the Bible and one of the books I used to find weird is Song of Songs also known as Song of Solomon. But recently I read something and it took my breath away:
“10 The one I love calls to me:
Arise, my dearest. Hurry, my darling.
Come away with me!
I have come as you have asked
to draw you to my heart and lead you out.
For now is the time, my beautiful one.
11 The season has changed,
the bondage of your barren winter has ended,
and the season of hiding is over and gone.
The rains have soaked the earth
12 and left it bright with blossoming flowers.
The season for singing and pruning the vines has arrived.
I hear the cooing of doves in our land,
filling the air with songs to awaken you
and guide you forth.
13 Can you not discern this new day of destiny
breaking forth around you?
The early signs of my purposes and plans
are bursting forth.
The budding vines of new life
are now blooming everywhere.
The fragrance of their flowers whispers,
“There is change in the air.”
Arise, my love, my beautiful companion,
and run with me to the higher place.
For now is the time to arise and come away with me.”
Song of Songs 2:10-13 The Passion Translation
As I read it I sensed God calling out to me, wooing me in fact, to awaken AND arise at any time of the day to join Him in the secret place. As I read that I no longer looked upon my 3am wake ups with bleary eyes and resentment, I saw those moments as a privilege and an honour.
I saw that God had heard my prayers, I had been seeking Him and asking Him to take me deeper and here He was saying “I have come as you have asked.”
In verse 11 is a promise that the barren winter has ended and I felt God’s healing promise ignite. The soaking rain represents the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which is a promise of refreshing and preparation. As I worried and stressed about whether or not I should share, I felt God instruct me to come out of hiding.
Sickness has been so ingrained into my being that I find it easy to hide behind things such as: I’m not well enough; I’m not recovered enough; I’m not trained enough; I’m not ready enough; I’m simply not enough. But God has told me to stop hiding, to stop living by all of those labels and instead embrace the fact that Jesus is more than enough! Jesus promises to be strong in my weakness because I cannot do anything in my own strength and I certainly couldn’t organise and speak, but God promised that if I was obedient and trusted Him, that He would come through!
I held onto the promise that He would refresh and prepare me.
Because verse 12 declares that it’s the season for singing, which for me means rejoicing and declaring God’s goodness and greatness. I don’t need to worry because He promises that I’ll hear songs to awaken me and guide me forth.
Verse 13 felt like a declaration that today is that new day of destiny breaking forth! That I was to look for the signs that God’s purposes and plans are bursting forth because there is change in the air!
I believe that God is also wooing you because He has a purpose for your life. I wonder if there are things that need to be awakened in your life? Is God calling: “Arise, my dearest. Rise up. Hurry, my darling, my fair one. Come away with me, for now is the time!”. If so then please don’t be afraid anymore because He promises to lead you.
Let Psalm 25:4-5 be our prayer:
“4 Lord, direct me throughout my journey
so I can experience your plans for my life.
Reveal the life-paths that are pleasing to you.
5 Escort me along the way; take me by the hand and teach me.
For you are the God of my increasing salvation;
I have wrapped my heart into yours!”(Psalm 25:4-5 The Passion Translation)
Further notes explain that “The Hebrew word most commonly translated as “wait” (wait upon the Lord) is qavah, which also means “to tie together by twisting” or “to entwine” or “to wrap tightly.” This is a beautiful concept of waiting upon God, not as something passive, but entwining our hearts with him and his purposes.”
I wonder if there are things that have got you hiding? Is it unrealistic expectations that others have placed upon you? Is it incorrect labels such as ‘not enough’? Is there a barrier that you’ve placed up? I want to encourage you today that God wants you to come out of hiding. If you will allow Him to, God will take those things away. He can remove the expectations of others and let you know what His expectations are. Feeling like you’re not enough? Please know that You’re a precious child of God and that Jesus’ power is more than enough for you! Whatever wall or barrier you’ve built, surrender it to God, allow the Holy Spirit into that area of your life to do a mighty work.
I hope we can join together and declare that the season has changed! That the bondage of our barren winter has ended, and the season of hiding is over and gone.
I pray that just as the rains have soaked the earth, the Holy Spirit will come and soak us, completely revitalising and empowering us!
As I prayed about God guiding us forth into this new season, I saw 3 distinct pictures:
- Someone in their bathroom on the floor praying
- Someone in the cupboard under the stairs
- And another person daily praying upon a bench
As I prayed more into that I asked God to reveal what those pictures meant. Here is what I believe they represent:
The bathroom represents the cleansing that comes when we spend time with God.
The cupboard represents those moments of intimate solitude, the times we are shut away from the distractions of the world to solely focus on God
The park bench represents the freedom that God offer us, the call to take our secret place out into the world. Because when we go into the secret place, God implants such treasure within us and we become storehouses of God’s power; His love; His wisdom; His grace and so much more! The secret place prepares us for the moments in which we are to release all that has been implanted within us. I want to encourage you so much to STOP HIDING, there are people around you who desperately need some of the treasure you contain. I desperately want you to know that you’re a storehouse of hope for your families, your church, your community, our nation and our world!
Truly! A storehouse of such richness!
Storehouse are filled with things that need to be shared before the produce spoils, so know that you’re in this world for such a time as this!!!!
Let us declare that it’s a new day of destiny breaking forth! For there are signs that God’s purposes and plans are bursting forth; there is change in the air for a new season is upon us!
So what do we do?
We awaken! We awaken ourselves and we awaken others.
We arise as lovers of God; companions of Jesus; and allow the Holy Spirit to take us to the higher place. For now is the time to arise!
This is my prayer:
Thank You Lord that You’re present with us. Holy Spirit, come and awaken us and take us deeper.
We believe that the One we love calls us to arise and join Him in the secret place. We believe that we serve a risen King, One that we know is Immanuel because He dwells with us! Lord God, come and draw us deeper into Your heart.
Lord, direct us throughout our journeys in life, so we can experience Your plans for our lives. Reveal the life-paths that are pleasing to You. Escort us along the way; take us each by the hand and teach us. For you are the God of our increasing salvation. We have wrapped our hearts into yours! (Psalm 25:4-5 The Passion Translation paraphrased)
We believe the time is now because the season has changed, the bondage of our dry barren winter has ended; thank You that the season of hiding is over and gone. Holy Spirit come and soak us, come and blossom all that is within us. Open our hears to hear Your song that awakens us and guides us forth; release our voices to sing a new song of victory; let us rejoice and declare God’s goodness and greatness. We don’t need to worry because He promises that we will hear songs to awaken us and guide us forth.
We’re so grateful for this new day of destiny that breaks forth; that we can see the early signs of God’s purposes and plans bursting forth. We declare: “There is change in the air.”
We will awaken! We will awaken others.
We arise as lovers of God; companions of Jesus; and allow the Holy Spirit to take us to the higher place. For now is the time to arise! Praise the Lord!
“For as many as are the promises of God, in Christ they are [all answered] “Yes.” So through Him we say our “Amen” to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 Amplified Bible
Many blessings, Keona
*Stanley J. Grenz and Jay T. Smith. Created for Community: Connecting Christian Belief with Christian Living. 3rd edition, United States of America: Baker Academic, 2014.