Crown of Wisdom

So many times in life I’ve seen how desperately I need wisdom and it is something that I’m pursuing – godly wisdom.
One day I watched a YouTube video titled: “Why My Gray Hairs Make Me Happy ***Be That Person***”, in the video Rachel Farnsworth openly shares her story:
I got this comment on my blog: “you look like you are 70 with your gray hairs. You really should consider dying them for TV so you don’t look like such an old hag.”She goes on to explain that she has a rare auto immune disease which means she might not make it to 70 so every sign of ageing that she has is a sign that she is still alive.

A lot of people don’t get the privilege to ever live, to be old, and I probably won’t either which means that I don’t have time to waste criticising myself and I don’t have time to waste criticising other people. I care a lot more about what my life is like right now!

She also mentions that her husband feels strongly that she shouldn’t dye her hair because he wants them to grow old together, I think that is super cute and sweet!

Rachel’s story really struck my heart and I realised what a privilege it is to have grey hairs, to live long enough to be old and grey. I also realised that it is pointless to waste time criticising myself or listening to criticism from other people.

The Bible explains that silver hair is a crown of splendour and glory, dignity and honour,
for it takes a lifetime of righteousness to acquire it (see Proverbs 16:31).
I love that!
I’ve been praying for wisdom and God reveals that grey hair is a visible reminder of the wisdom He has bestowed upon us, it is a crown of splendour!
A crown of wisdom? Oh I’m so into crowns so I’ll take that!
YES, I’m gonna allow my crown of wisdom to shine forth!
As I think about growing old and the privilege that it is I’m reminded that I can trust God, that the days allotted to me have been written in His book, written there long ago before even one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16). When I get into trouble I can call out to God and He promises to answer, to be with me in my day of trouble, rescuing me and honouring me with a long life! (see Psalm 91:15-16).
“Even to your old age I am He,
And even to your advanced old age I will carry you!
I have made you, and I will carry you;
Be assured I will carry you and I will save you.” Isaiah‬ ‭46:4‬ ‭(AMP)
WOW!

I pray you’ve been blessed with what I’ve shared.

Many blessings, Keona

Notes:
1. Rachel Farnsworth’s YouTube video was released Nov 23 2016, link: https://youtu.be/aFk9L3nhS0Q
2. Proverbs 16:31, I studied the Amplified and The Passion Translation.

Image from Pixabay

Unshakable in Uncertain Times

Things feel very shaky at the moment, the things that were once secure feel very unstable. Life as we know it, normality, is no longer the case.

  • Jobs have been lost and every day more people are facing uncertainty
  • Wages are gone or being significantly cut
  • Businesses are struggling to survive
  • Sporting stadiums stand empty
  • Racing tracks remain idle
  • Restaurants are closed or have adapted to take-away service only
  • Hotel once packed full with guests now may have one or two staying or none at all
  • Some retail giants have closed their doors
  • Catching up with family and friends face to face just isn’t possible
  • Church is now online
  • Our normal routine is altered
  • and many places that were part of our everyday lives have been closed

Our normal lives are interrupted, and no one is unaffected by this current crisis.

Can we survive this COVID-19 crisis?

Are there things that we need to reflect upon and change?

Challenged

The world is being challenged and many aspects of this current shaking are very familiar to me. In 2015 I faced the biggest shake up of my life. As my health hit an all-time low, I lost my job and therefore my wage and I found catching up with family and friends just wasn’t possible. It was one of the hardest moments of my life.

As the months dragged on, I struggled to find purpose.

As God has helped me to process that difficult period, I’ve faced some very confronting things and as I’ve had time to reflect I’ve discovered that I had placed my trust in the wrong things:

  • My job
  • Fitness routine
  • Finances (wage)
  • Family and friends

Having a job, being fit, earning a good wage and being social are all good things, but I found that my job consumed many hours of my life and had become a huge focus; my fitness routine become an obsession; I relied upon my wage and wasn’t as wise as I should have been; I was a very social person who loved catching up with family and friends and often called others for advice rather than going to God in prayer.

I had placed my trust in the wrong things and I was heartbroken when they were stripped away. I’ve discovered that earthly things are easily shaken and stripped away BUT God and His promises are unshakable – eternal. I know this because He has sustained me through the challenging years that have followed and especially at the start of this year when I faced a major operation. I was nervous and very anxious about it, but I found such comfort in knowing that Jesus was with me and promised to help me through.

Secure and stable

I’ve discovered that in vast contrast to the things that are unstable, God is secure and stable. A man who understood this was Abraham, he was promised a truly incredible inheritance and so he set off on a long journey not really understanding where he was going. By faith he lived as a foreigner in the promised land, living with an expectant and confident hope that God would do what He promised to do. Abraham placed his focus, his eyes of faith, upon the city with unshakable foundations – the heavenly city whose architect and builder is God (see Hebrews 11:8-10).

Daniel is another man who experienced and understood God’s stability, he was even gifted a glimpse into the future and it was revealed that God’s “kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.” Daniel 7:27b (AMP)

I encourage you to deeply reflect upon the fact that God is unshakable in uncertain times.

Look Up

During these uncertain times we can easily be shaken when we look at the situation around us, it is scary I know. Today I encourage you to take your eyes off the uncertainty all around and fix your eyes and your heart upon the things that are certain.

This is a time to deeply reflect and find out where you’ve placed your trust.

I urge you to look up, to lift your eyes up to the heavens and remember Who has created the stars and has called them out each by name. God’s great power and incomparable strength ensures that not a single one is missing (see Isaiah 40:26).

No longer be tempted and drawn away by your desires, for desire gives birth to sin and sin brings death. Remember that every good and perfect gift is from above, they pour down upon us because of the Father of lights (God the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens), the One Who is perfect and never changes. We have been created to be an example, to be like Jesus, set apart and made holy for God’s divine purposes (see James 1:17-18). Know today that God is secure and stable. Stand upon His promises by setting your focus upon His unshakable security.

Let’s Pray

Almighty God today I lift my eyes up to You. Help me to set aside my fears and panic over the uncertainty around me. Empower me to grasp hold of the fact that Your great power and incomparable strength helps me.

Holy Spirit enable me to stand firm, stable, immovable and enduring because that is what You are. Let me stand upon the truth that I can prosper and excel in every season by serving the Lord. What joy it is to know that any work I do for the Lord is never futile, wasted, or without purpose, for the Lord makes my labour productive with fruit that endures (see 1 Corinthians 15:58).

Since I’m receiving an unshakeable kingdom let me lay down my life in absolute surrender, filled with awe and reverence, thanking God with the purest worship I can produce (Hebrews 12:28).

Lord Jesus change me and mould me into who You want me to be, reveal ways that I can serve You right now.  Holy Spirit empower me to reach out and encourage those around me, in Jesus’ mighty name I pray. Amen.

‘We Will Not Be Shaken’ song by Brian Johnson and Bethel Music is a great song to listen to in these uncertain times. You can find the song in YouTube or iTunes.

Here are some verses to reflect upon:

“So now, beloved ones, stand firm, stable, and enduring. Live your lives with an unshakable confidence. We know that we prosper and excel in every season by serving the Lord, because we are assured that our union with the Lord makes our labor productive with fruit that endures.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 (TPT)

“The Almighty is alive and conquers all! Praise is lifted high to the unshakable God! Towering over all, my Savior-God is worthy to be praised!” Psalms 18:46 (TPT)

“Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, and offer to God pleasing service and acceptable worship with reverence and awe;” Hebrews 12:28 (AMP)

Many blessings, Keona

Featured image from Pixabay

Easter Sunday Worship

Yesterday (10th April) in the early hours of the morning I saw the following post by Thrive Mission Unit:

#singatsunrise
Since the very early days of the church Christians have gathered, on hillsides, beside cave entrances, outside the local church, at sunrise on Easter morning to celebrate Jesus rising from the tomb, and the new life that it made possible for all people. We can’t do that this year so this Easter we are inviting you to celebrate and witness to us being Easter people, by inviting you to join us in SINGING A SONG AT SUNRISE in your garden/on your verandah or balcony/as you take your daily exercise a bit earlier. Neighbours etc will also hear the song and we will know we join others across the nation/globe doing the same.
Facebook LIVE enables you to also share this as you watch the sun as it rises whilst singing a hymn or song, and it will save the video for others to see later. We are suggesting the old Charles Wesley classic Jesus Christ is Risen Today (see words below) but please feel free to sing whatever celebratory Easter song you would enjoy singing to greet Easter 2020.️

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!

our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!

who did once upon the cross Alleluia!

suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

Dream

I thought that was such a brilliant idea, and so I shared their post and began to think of a playlist. I went back to sleep and had a dream: I witnessed 2 people having an argument and I went up to them and as I did a 3rd person came alongside. The four of us stood in a circle and I and declared how much they needed Jesus:

  • Jesus to fill the empty void
  • Jesus to heal the deepest wounds
  • Jesus to give them hope
  • Jesus to give them peace

I invited them to pray with me and we held hands, but before we could pray the person opposite me started singing, as he did the words appeared in my mind and we all joined in. I had such a sense of awe, the singing wasn’t being led by me, I knew that the Holy Spirit was at work and we were simply singing along. It was SO beautiful, not only the words but how it sounded. When I awoke I just wanted to cry for the beauty of the moment lingered. I could remember a few lines so I quickly typed what I could remember and then other lines came to me also:

Fill the caverns and the wounds of my heart

How I need Your mercy, how I need Your grace

Come now Jesus fill my life
Fill the caves and the canyons of my heart

How I need Your hope, how I need Your love

Come now Jesus fill my life
Lord I need Your grace

Lord I need Your healing

Lord I need Your hope

Oh oooh oh ooooh

Come now Jesus fill my life

There is such power in worship and Easter Sunday is a time of great celebration for we rejoice that Jesus rose again and is now seated in the heavenly realms in glory and honour.

Verses to reflect upon

I began to collate some verses to reflect upon:

You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here!

Don’t look for the living among the dead. He is risen!

He is now seated in the place of honour at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms!

Hallelujah! (see Mark 16:6, Luke 24:5 & Ephesians 1:20)

“The Messiah died for our sins,

fulfilling the prophecies of the Scriptures.

He was buried in a tomb

and was raised from the dead after three days,

as foretold in the Scriptures.

Then he appeared to Peter the Rock

and to the twelve apostles.

He also appeared to more than five hundred of his followers at the same time”

1 Corinthians 15:3b-6a (TPT)

Jesus “is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else – not only in this world but also in the world to come.” Ephesians 1:21 (NLT)

Worship

I’ve created a playlist of the following songs:

  • God So Loved – Scripture Lullabies
  • For God So Loved – thelukasband
  • For God So Loved – Brad & Rebekah
  • At the Cross – Hillsong
  • At the Cross (Love Ran Red) – Passion Worship Band
  • Jesus Christ is Risen Today – Jamie Thietten
  • Fall Afresh – Jeremy Riddle
  • Fill my heart – Twila Paris
  • Fill my heart – feast worship
  • Fill my heart – Kathy Troccoli

Which you can listen to via YouTube.

Bible Study Tools have put together 50 Easter Bible verses.

Let’s praise together at sunrise tomorrow.

Many blessings, Keona

A Call to Pray for Pastors

On the 6th of April 2020 Lana Vawser shared a dream that she had had where the Lord had said: “PRAY FOR PASTORS” (read her message here). God had laid upon my heart the same call last week but I was struggling to find the words to pray. I kept pressing in and as I read through Lana’s words I felt a spark of inspiration come. I was reminded of a picture that I found when I was studying Psalm 23:

Training The Young Shepherd by Greg Sargent

This picture is titled: “Training The Young Shepherd” by Greg Sargent.

Jesus is the good Shepherd

As I reflected I was reminded that Jesus is the good Shepherd, He longs to teach us His ways so that we can love and care for those around us. Now I understand if shepherding is a bit of a foreign concept to you, I haven’t grown up on a farm so it was a bit of a strange concept to me also. But God has been showing things to me. I’m blessed to have a family shack up in the Central Highlands where I’ve seen firsthand a shepherd at work, I’ve watched the sheep swarm around us and slowly make their way from one paddock to the next. I remember one time as we made our way through the flock I saw the shepherd calmly walking along at the front whistling and calling to the sheep to follow him, which of course they did. As I watched I was reminded of the call to hear God’s voice, to know it and respond, to hear it and follow after Him (John 10:27). When we reached the end of the flock there was a ute with a trailer attached and in the trailer were a few sheep and a couple of lambs. That image stood out to me and I knew God was showing me that those who were too weak or sick to walk were being carried and cared for in the trailer. That spoke deeply to my heart and I felt such assurance that God was caring for me as He carried me through my own long and difficult journey. The things that God has shown me are reminders that Jesus is the good Shepherd, we can have a deep and personal relationship with Him; He is deeply concerned for our safety and will fight for us and defend us; Jesus has shown just how much He loves us by laying down His life (see John 10:11-18).

Here is another aspect: “THE HEART OF A SHEPHERD” by Gary Wilkerson 
Most of my life I had a rather distorted concept of shepherds. When I heard Bible stories about the shepherd David, I pictured him sitting on a rock, playing his harp and watching the sheep as they quietly grazed around him. But I got a completely different picture of shepherds when I observed them firsthand in Romania a few years ago. These hard-working men were constantly searching for places with fresh grass to eat and water to drink. They were up early in the morning, leading the sheep and tending to their needs, and returned after a full day of wandering, usually working at least fourteen-hour days.
David is a perfect example of a shepherd-warrior — one who could fight, nurture and sing at the same time. The heart of a shepherd is unselfish, willing to give up his own life for his sheep. Also, the heart of a shepherd is protective and sacrificial. Often enemy prey threatens the sheep and the shepherd must be on alert at all times. David told King Saul when he was wanting to fight the giant Goliath: “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth” (1 Samuel 17:34-35).
This is definitely not a shepherd who was taking long naps in the afternoon sun, strumming on his harp and taking it easy. No, he was alert and ready to do battle. And David was an amazing warrior. He went from victory to victory with a singing heart.
God does not make us just warriors, he also makes us worshippers. He causes us to sing regardless of what the enemy throws at us. David had a song when the lions came at him and when bears threatened him because he knew how to encourage himself in the Lord. He sang: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want … He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:1-3).

Can I trust Jesus?

It can be hard to understand a loving and caring Shepherd if we’ve experienced leaders or people in authority take advantage of us. If we have been deeply wounded we can struggle to trust. Today I want you to know that Jesus is a very good and trustworthy shepherd because He is protective and sacrificial. I believe that Jesus can heal the deepest wounds and I pray that He does that right now as you reach out to Him. You can say a simple prayer such as: “Jesus You’re revealed as a loving and caring Shepherd, but I’ve been hurt and I cannot fathom that concept. Please come and heal my wounds, tenderly care for me. Help me to hear Your voice, to trust You and to respond to Your call. Lead me, guide me and protect me I pray. Amen.”

Prayer

This call to pray for pastors is one that we MUST answer, now more than ever our pastors need our prayers. The following prayer is for parishioners (us in the congregation), it has been a 3-day wrestle to put this together as I agonised over every sentence and awoke in the early hours of the morning thinking about it. Today (8th April) I knew that I just had to trust that the Holy Spirit would help me with the final draft, do my best and trust.
As you pray I invite you to place yourself in the picture I shared, imagine sitting next to Jesus and allow Him to speak to you. Modify this prayer as you need and also look at the prayer points Lana mentions.
Almighty God I thank You for Your marvellous mercy, I surrender myself to You afresh to be Your sacred living sacrifice. May I live a holy life that brings delight to Your heart and honour to Your name. Help me to stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the perverse culture around me, to no longer be tempted by its superficial values and customs. I ask for the Holy Spirit to once again transform and progressively change the way that I think and respond, empowering me to discern God’s will and live out His plans and purpose for my life (Romans‬ ‭12:1-2). Jesus always stay close to me, instruct and guide me along the pathway of Life. Advise me and may Your eyes be my guide. Help me to be a good disciple by never making Your job, or my pastor’s, difficult by being stubborn and rebellious. When I’m taken on paths that are unfamiliar, help me to respond appropriately and not make you or my pastor be forced to tug or coerce me along, let me willingly and openly follow (Psalm 32:8-9).‬
Jesus I pray for my pastors, a beautiful husband and wife team that I admire so much. I ask for them to encounter You as the Good Shepherd in a fresh and vibrant way; that they will experience Jesus lovingly and tenderly caring for them; and leading them through this difficult time. I pray for them to receive a refreshing and a reviving. Lord I praise You that my pastors heard Your call to lead Your precious people and responded. Offer to them a resting place in Your luxurious love; take them to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss; restore and revive their lives; renew their minds and revive their bodies.
I pray for my pastors and pastors all around the world, those who have been entrusted to care and guide God’s people, Lord If they have become lost and off-track please rescue them and place them back on-track. Remind them Who You are, Lord, open up to them a pathway where they can sit in God’s splendour, lead them in Your footsteps of righteousness so that they can bring much glory and honour to God. Redeem and realign; revive and refresh; renew and restore them. Remind them that You’re Immanuel, You’re with them each and every step of the way, leading them through the valley of deepest darkness. Jesus let Your great love wash over them which dispels ALL fear, and let Your authority be their strength and peace. Prepare a table, a feast of delight, for them in the presence of their enemies. Anoint them afresh with the fragrance of the Holy Spirit; may they drink of the Living fountain until their hearts overflow. Remind them that they have NO need to fear the future, for Your goodness and love pursues them all the days of their lives. When their time on earth is done, they will hear the words: “well done good and faithful servant” and remain in Your glorious presence forevermore! Hallelujah!
Praise the Lord, for He is the Good Shepherd that loves and cares for each and every one of His lambs (God’s people). Praise the Lord, for He is the Good Shepherd that laid down His life. Praise the Lord, for He is the Good Shepherd that is alive and active, ready and willing to assist. Praise the Lord, for He is the Good Shepherd that hears our cries and responds. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

Worshipping Warriors

As I prepared this and read through Gary Wilkerson’s word I was reminded that we are worshipping warriors and a few songs came to mind:
– God is Able – Hillsong Worship
– Saviour, Like a Shepherd – Leigh Nash
– The King of Love My Shepherd – Maranatha! Hymns
– The Lord is My Shepherd – Jeremy Riddle
– The Lord’s My Shepherd – Elevation
– Shepherd – Bethel Music feat. Amanda Cook
– Psalm 23 – Central Music
I’ve created this in a playlist which you can listen to via YouTube.
Many blessings,
Keona

Notes:

Cover Image from Pixabay

“Training The Young Shepherd” by Greg Sargent and other pieces of his work can be found at Havenlight.

If you would like to delve deeper into John 10:11-18 there is a great Commentary at Bible Gateway.

“I hear the Lord saying, “I will stay close to you,
instructing and guiding you along the pathway for your life.
I will advise you along the way
and lead you forth with my eyes as your guide.
So don’t make it difficult; don’t be stubborn
when I take you where you’ve not been before.
Don’t make me tug you and pull you along.
Just come with me!” Psalm 32:8-9 The Passion Translation

“He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss. That’s where he restores and revives my life. He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to his name. Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear. I’ll never be lonely, for you are near. You become my delicious feast even when my enemies dare to fight. You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit; you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows. So why would I fear the future? For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life. Then afterward, when my life is through, I’ll return to your glorious presence to be forever with you!” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:2-6‬ ‭The Passion Translation‬‬‬‬‬‬

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

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

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