A Virtuous Wife

I’ve gone through so many emotions in my marriage and most recently I’ve experienced repentance (yet again). After 22 years of marriage I came to a startling realisation:

“The integrity and strength of a virtuous wife transforms her husband into an honored king. But the wife who disgraces her husband weakens the strength of his identity.” Proverbs 12:4 The Passion Translation

As I read those words I felt as if they pierced my chest. As I reflected upon those words I sought out the meaning and what God was trying to teach me. I read through the verse in other versions:

The New Living Translation explains it like this: “A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones.”

The Amplified version explains that a virtuous wife is worthy of honour, but she who shames him, through foolishness, is like rottenness in his bones.

The Message version urged me to be a healthy wife so that I might invigorate my husband!

I reflected upon the many times I had said hurtful things or responded to situations with the wrong attitude, and a deep sorrow entered my heart. I remember vividly getting so angry and annoyed about how Trav would leave a wet towel lying around. That small thing grew into such a bitterness. I remember God urging me to not get angry about it, but rather to bless my husband and be so grateful for him. I tried to set a pattern in my life where I would regularly pray a blessing over my husband. When I was sick I was barely able to function and therefore my practice of praying for my husband slipped. As I grow in strength and restoration I have been actively releasing those prayers of blessing once again. I am so grateful for Trav’s love, care and support throughout this truly difficult time. I am so astounded at his grace and kindness towards me. I truly desire to be a wife that brings honour to my husband, that blessed and invigorates his life.

It is my heart’s cry for Trav to feel the honour I wish to bestow upon him, today and all the days to come! I want him to feel like a king returning from battle, that he returns to a home that is joyous over his safe arrival. Each day may I wait at the door for my mighty warrior to return, looking expectantly  to the horizon for the arrival of my champion. What joy enters my heart when I see his banner in the distance (car pull into the driveway). How I long to hold him once again in my arms; and to hear of his mighty victories! Each day I pray: ‘Lord bless my love as he goes out and as he travels home; pour Your favour upon him and anoint each and every action that he takes!’

This is my prayer for Trav & I:

Our minds — that we will have the mind of Christ and think as the Holy Spirit would lead us and not the flesh (1 Corinthians 2:16). That our decisions will honour God (Psalm 25:12).

Our eyes — that we will keep our eyes fixed on God, not on temptation and sin (Matthew 6:13; Mark 9:47).

Our ears — that we will hear the Holy Spirit’s still small voice instructing us (1 Kings 19:12, Psalm 32:8).

Our mouths — that our words will be pleasing and honouring to Jesus (Psalm 19:14). May we speak with care (great thought and caution) words of truth and life (Proverbs 18:21).

Our hearts – create in us clean hearts and loyal steadfast spirits (Psalm 51:10).

Bring harmony into our lives, thank You for Your grace and spiritual peace which grants us unity (Ephesians 1:2 Amplified version). We are protected and in perfect unity (John 17:11,23).

God Your love is in us (John 17:26) so help us to truly love each other!

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

My prayer is modified from the devotion: Praying for your husband from head to toe by Sharon Jaynes. Published by Proverbs 31 Ministries

Many blessings, Keona

The Pursuit of Sheer Silence 

At the recent Day of Prayer event Anne, the guest speaker, mentioned the need to be in sheer silence before the Lord. She was sharing with us from 1 Kings 19, here is the verse that talks about that moment:

“And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.” 1 Kings 19:12 (NLT)

That moment is also described as:

“a still small voice” (KJV)

“the sound of a gentle blowing” (AMP)

“gentle breeze” (CEV)

“quiet, subdued voice” (CJB)

“soft whisper of a voice” (GNB)

I was absolutely fascinated by the term: sheer silence and decided to research it some more, here’s what I’ve found:

“..experts in Hebrew say that this phrase in its original form doesn’t refer to audible noise, but means something like “God was in the sound of sheer silence.” In this place of contemplation, quiet, stillness – a meditative state – God encouraged a tired, heartbroken, and freaked out Elijah, and told him what to do next. (The writer encourages us to) Listen for God; make yourself available to his instruction and presence; get silent. Remove yourself from the all the crazy stuff that happens around you. Forget about your schedule, the dishes in the sink, the shows on Netflix, the problems at work… and just be still. Silent. Focused. Relaxed. Inhale. Exhale. He is waiting.” An extract from: pktfuel by Liz

“It is in the sheer silence that God gives Elijah’s life purpose once again.” An extract from an article written by Laura Aase

Dictionary.com defines sheer as: unmixed with anything else. Synonyms include: complete, pure, no if ands or buts.

Dictionary.com defines silence as: the absence of any sound or noise; stillness; the state of being or the fact of being silent; muteness; concealment; secrecy. Synonyms include: hush and quiet.

Fears and distractions are silenced

I wonder in that mountaintop moment if the silence was directed to Elijah’s fears? Was God telling his fears to be silent? Because I’ve found that in order to listen I need my fears to be silent; in order to be obedient and move forward I need my fears to be silent; when fears are silenced then I can fully listen and embrace direction and instructions from God. In order to listen I need to be in a place where I’m not distracted, I need to stop long enough to hear. So that I can hear the pure voice of God I cannot be in a place of distraction and bound by crippling fear.

As I reflected upon that a desire to pursue great courage ignited and I decided I wanted an end to fear in my life. Unfortunately, fear had plagued my life from an early age and for the things I’m being called to I want radical instant obedience and great courage. In the pursuit of sheer silence I planned a trip to my parent’s shack in the central highlands. I wanted to take myself to a place where I could switch off from all potential distractions and listen. When I first started planning it and talking about it I felt like it was going to be such an exciting adventure but then a few days later, in the early hours of the morning, my heart was racked with fear. My mind raced through the all possibilities that could go wrong. As I laid in bed wrestling with those paralysing thoughts I knew what I needed to do….. surrender it to God; I reminded myself: ‘you’re being called there for a divine reason’; and I asked God to prepare me for the journey.  I wanted to experience the complete and pure voice of God. I wanted to steady and still myself long enough to hear. In the busyness of trying to prepare my first book to first draft stage I didn’t want to get so caught up that and miss what God is wanting to say. I chose to embrace courage and boldness!

My prayer:

I pray that the eyes of my heart, the very centre and core of my being, will be enlightened and flooded with the light of the Holy Spirit. I want to know and cherish the hope that has been granted to me. I want to fully understand the divine guarantee given to me by Jesus. I wait with confident expectation to receive the riches of His glorious inheritance, which is available to all the saints (God’s people). How my spirit longs to embrace the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His active spiritual power, which is extended to all who believe. Oh to understand the incredible greatness of God’s power, extended to those who believe in Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honour at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. How I long to serve Him in accordance with the working of His mighty strength!  Ephesians 1:18-19 AMP & NLT paraphrased

You Make Me Brave playlist:

In preparation I made a playlist to remind me of the call and to tell my fears to be silent. For the days leading up I played this over and over and praised God for granting me the courage to go.

  1. I Am Not Alone – Kari Jobe 2. Undone – Kim Walker-Smith
  2. Take Courage – Bethel & Kristene Dimarco 4. Shepherd – Bethel & Amanda Cook
  3. On My Side – Kim Walker-Smith 6. Brave Surrender – Kim Walker-Smith
  4. Confident – Steffany Gretzinger 8. New Wine – Hillsong
  5. You Are Good – C3 10. Be Still – Steffany Gretzinger
  6. God Who Moves the Mountains – Corey Voss 12. Victory in Jesus – Maranatha! Music
  7. No Longer Slaves – Bethel & Jonathan David Helser
  8. You Make Me Brave – Bethel

Hinds Feet

In my teens I was given a copy of Hinds Feet On High Places and I was so enthralled with the story. As I read a desire grew within me and I longed to leave my timid-weak-much-afraid nature behind and grasp a whole new bold and brave identity. Recently, in my early 40s, I rediscovered the story when I purchased Hinds Feet On High Places – An Engaging Visual Journey. As I journeyed once again through the story the desire to be bold and brave ignited again. I pressed into God to leave fear behind once and for all. I felt inspired that in my own high place, the central highlands, I could go and build my very own altar for God. I desired to find a place to lay down my fear but also my hopes and dreams because I don’t want to make any move forward that doesn’t have God’s blessing.

I created some prayers; I made a wooden cross with the words ‘Jesus my redeemer’ cut out in red plastic; and created a playlist. My first full day was filled with snow, wind and some rain which meant that it was too wet and cold to venture out. I prayed that the next day would bring me a small opportunity to stroll to the water’s edge. In faith I set my alarm for 6am so that I could have breakfast and walk down to watch the sunrise. But the second morning I was awake at 3:20am and unable to sleep. I spent some time reading in bed before I got up to have some breakfast, then I worked more on my book. Around 6.30am I walked down to the water and it was a crisp morning but thankfully there was no rain, snow falling or strong winds. I found a spot where I thought the sun would rise behind the cross and set up my altar. I put my music on and watched as the sky changed. It was a truly stunning display of colours and I smiled as I snapped picture after picture trying to capture the moment. I was mesmerized as I watched the sky explode with orange and gold, it felt like such a significant moment!

cross that i made

I’m reminded of what the cross represents – The Cross is not a symbol of defeat. It’s a symbol of the promise, the Crown, of hope and forgiveness and life. Ultimately the Cross is a symbol of TRIUMPH (see Colossians 2:13-15). Steven Furtick

I desired to grab hold of the following glorious promises:

He makes me as surefooted as a deer for He grants me feet like hinds’ feet. He enables me to stand on mountain heights, I can stand firmly and tread safely on paths of testing and trouble. He lifts me up and sets me securely upon my high places. Psalm 18:33 (AMP & NLT paraphrased)

I now confidently know that the Sovereign Lord is my strength for He is my source of courage! He makes me as surefooted as a deer for He has made my feet steady and sure like hinds’ feet. He enables me to walk forward with spiritual confidence on my high places, the places of challenge and responsibility. Habakkuk 3:19 (AMP & NLT paraphrased)

Bold Strong Courageous

As I process my time up on the mountain I realise that somewhere along the deep inner healing journey a transition took place, a desire grew where I didn’t just want to let go of the sickness, pain and grief of the past because somewhere along the way God had grown me and shown me the importance of being holy, a pursuit for sanctification had bloomed, I desire to be holy because He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). As I write this I smile and see that God in His great graciousness has taken me on a journey that has been more difficult than I ever imagined but has birthed in me glorious new life!

As I reflect upon those precious days I see that God has answered my prayer and my timid-weak-much-afraid nature has been changed and I have been granted a bold-strong-greatly-courageous nature. Praise the Lord! I can now move forward to in life bold, strong and courageous because of what He has done!

My prayer:

Lord let Your pillars of truth, wisdom, love and grace be the strength that surrounds me and propels me forth.

Let Your truth rule and reign in every aspect of my life. Let Your Holy truth lead and guide me forth. Let me live out Your great truth and speak words of truth.

Let Your wisdom rule and reign in every aspect of my life. Let Your wisdom alone lead and guide me forth. Let me live every moment in Your great wisdom and speak words of wisdom.

Let Your love rule and reign in every aspect of my life. Let Your transforming love lead and guide me forth. Let me live every moment displaying Your great love and speak words of love.

Let Your grace rule and reign in every aspect of my life. Let Your amazing grace lead and guide me forth. Let me live every moment with Your grace on display and speak words of grace.

Take my life and let it be beautiful and sweet for Thee.

Take my life and let it display Your truth, wisdom, love and grace!

An Abundance

On the way to the shack I drove past a swollen river and I felt prompted to stop on the way back and take a picture. As I drove home I was planning where I would park and I knew it would be a short walk. I arrived, parked where I planned, and as I walked I was praying and asking God to show me what He wanted me to see. As I looked at the swollen river I felt that God wants me to be like that – filled to overflow, to have such an abundance that I ‘breach my boundaries’. As I stood there and prayed to receive ALL that He has for me I knew that I also wanted that for others. That I desired to see myself and others filled and ready for EVERY good work set before us! As I took the picture I realised that there was a sheep posing for me which reminded me of the Great Shepherd who so lovingly laid down His life for me! He gave everything so that we can take hold of all that He is and all that He has! Oh how truly wonderful it is to know that Jesus came to give life, life in abundance (John 10:10). I pray that together we can declare:

“You’re kind and tenderhearted to those who don’t deserve it and very patient with people who fail you. Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness.” Psalms 145:8 The Passion Translation

pic of river

My dear reader I pray that you’re encouraged by this, that you smile and laugh with me over the goodness of our great God. I pray that you can know, deeply know, that His faithfulness is so great, surpassing all our expectations!

Many many many blessings, Keona

Notes:

Hinds Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Printed in the United States of America.

Hinds Feet On High Places – An Engaging Visual Journey by Hannah Hurnard. Illustrated by Jill DeHaan & Rachel McNaughton. Living Expressions, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Printed in China.

Altar playlist YouTube link

Arise from the ashes!

She was finally ready to let go of the past

to end the constant wondering, to lay down the hurt and pain

As she gathered the sticks around her body she dared to dream

Dared to imagine a bright new future

Dared to hope for a new fresh start

Dared to imagine herself as a new creation

As she prepared the nest of sticks around her she wondered

what it would be like to be free to fly again?

As the nest of sticks surrounded her she surrendered herself to the next painful process, reminding herself that this short-term pain would bring long-term gain

As the flames roared around her she screamed out all the pent-up rage that had once brewed so strongly inside her

After sometime all that could be seen was a pile of ashes

But looking closer you could see her there, waiting for the right moment

Just as the last ember died she started to arise

Slowly at first, weighed down by the ash, she struggled until the ashes finally parted and allowed her to rise

Slowly she stood and saw that she was a glorious new creation

She had a new magnificent set of wings, even more beautiful than the old ones

Her eyes had a new spark and her heart beat strong and pure in her chest

Yes! She had a deep knowing that the future was going to be bright and amazing!

He Has Won – Vertical Worship – YouTube video

God Wooed Me

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:

The Bridegroom-King

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.
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.

Awake My Soul (A Thousand Tongues) – Matt Maher – YouTube link

Victory In Jesus – Maranatha! Music – YouTube link

Take My Life (And Let It Be) – Chris Tomlin – YouTube link

Day of Prayer

I’m freaking out! I’ve agreed to commit to organise an upcoming event and right now it seems waasaaay too daunting. But as I spend time praying and seeking God I’m reminded of the promise that God’s Word never fails! I’m reminded that nothing is impossible for Him!

“Not one promise from God is empty of power, for nothing is impossible with God!” Luke 1:37 The Passion Translation

“For with God nothing [is or ever] shall be impossible.” LUKE 1:37 Amplified

“For the word of God will never fail.” Luke 1:37 New Living Transaltion

So I surrender Saturday to Him. He alone can and will draw people there; He alone can and will impact lives. I take a deep breath and I spend time thanking God for the opportunity. There is such a peace that comes when I hand it all over to God, it’s so amazing and wonderful.

“Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.” Philippians 4:6-7 The Passion Translation

Dear friend I’m not sure what you’re wrestling with today, but I would love to encourage you to also grasp hold of the glorious promises that God’s Word never fails! AND that Nothing is impossible for Him!

Can I encourage you to spend some time today surrendering your anxieties, worries and cares to Him and press in to discover “God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding.”

Many blessings, Keona

‘Let The Peace Of God Reign’ – Hillsong – Lyrics YouTube clip

Day of Prayer flyer jpeg