The Greatest Story – Part 2: Immanuel

Mary’s exhausted body finally succumb to sleep but after only a few short hours she awoke with her heart racing. It took her a moment to remember where she was and as she tried to roll over a soft moan tumbled from her lips as her weary achy body made known its protest. Mary took a few depth breaths to calm her racing heart as she felt her sleeping baby next to her, she pushed herself up into one elbow and tried to stare at his beautiful face in the dim light. Jesus lay in a very unusual crib, a feeding trough, but he didn’t seem to mind as he slept soundly. Mary’s ear picked up strange voices mixed with Joseph’s voice and wondered what was going on. As if he had read her mind Joseph crept quietly to her side to check if she was awake “are you ok?”, Mary tried to sit up and Joseph rushed to assist her as she let out another moan of pain, Joseph’s face filled with concern “I’m so sorry that you’re stuck here in this uncomfortable place”, Mary caught her breath and replied: “it’s ok Joseph, you tried everything, at least we are warm and safe”. Joseph smiled and stroked Mary’s face “you’re really so special”, Mary smiled back at him “you’re pretty amazing yourself”. Their moment was interrupted by Jesus stirring and Joseph gently picked him up “I think someone else wants your attention also”. Mary smiled and reached out for her son. “I’ll grab you some food and then we have some unusual visitors that insist on seeing you and our son”, Mary looked at Joseph with curiosity but he was gone before she could ask for more detail. A few moments later Merry, the homeowner’s wife, came to check on Mary with some food, fresh water and more cloth for Jesus “did you manage some sleep”, Mary sighed “yes thank you and thank you again so much for your assistance I was really quite scared”. Merry smiled “I’m so pleased I could help. I’m sorry that this is the only space we have free at the moment.”. Mary smiled and replied: “I appreciate having somewhere warm and safe, thank you for your kindness.” The two women sat in silence as Mary ate and fed Jesus. Once Jesus had finished Merry helped Mary to change him into fresh swaddling and she rocked him as Mary laid back sipping her water. “I’m sorry that you can’t rest longer but as Joseph mentioned we have some very keen people who are insisting on seeing you and Jesus, is that ok?” Mary again was extremely curious but just smiled and nodded. Merry handed Jesus back to Mary and left to find Joseph. A few moments later Joseph returned with Rufus, the homeowner, and a group of men. The first man laid down a staff as he knelt next to Mary and she recognized it as a shepherd’s hook. Mary smiled and offered Jesus to the man but he just knelt with a look of awe upon his face. One by one the shepherds gathered around Mary and Jesus kneeling with strange looks on their faces. Finally one of them spoke “blessed Mary we thank you for allowing us to visit. We have quite an unusual tale to tell.” Mary’s eyebrows shot up and she noticed Joseph winking at her over their heads, as she nodded the shepherd continued: “we were out in the fields not too far away and it was just like any other night except one particular star seemed extraordinarily bright.” The man’s face lit up as he continued “then the most amazing thing happened an angel appeared and the brightness of the Lord God shone all around us. We were terribly afraid but the angel told us not to fear because he was bringing good news of great joy. He told us that we would find a newborn baby right here in Bethlehem, wrapped in strips of cloth lying in a manger. We of course wondered just what was so special about a new baby and it was as if the angel understood our thoughts because he explained that this baby is the One we have been waiting for, he is the Messiah!”
Mary’s eyes filled with tears at the shepherd’s words. Then all of them began to speak at once about how a choir of angels had filled the sky and one shepherd sung out the song he had heard:
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14 NKJV)
The first shepherd managed to get the others to quieten down so that he could explain “when the choir of angels left us we packed up and rushed straight here. It was easy to find you as the bright star led us here!”. The crowd that had followed the shepherds listened with amazement and pressed closer to see the baby that they spoke about. Mary hugged Jesus tightly to her chest and smiled as she allowed their words to sink deeply into her heart.

As the shepherds and the crowd disbursed Mary lay back in the straw to unpack all that they had told her, eventually her exhausted eyes closed and she dreamt about the choir of angels. She awoke to another crowd of visitors, at the sight of the distinguished looking men Mary felt unprepared and dishevelled. The men approached and knelt beside Jesus with a look of absolute wonder in their eyes. As Mary sat up straighter one of the men explained how they had been studying and searching. Mary gasped as one man reminded her of Balaam’s prophecy that her family had often recited:
“I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult.” (Numbers 24:17 NKJV)
Another man quickly explained that they had been closely watching the skies over Bethlehem because of Micah’s prophecy:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.” (Micah 5:2 NKJV)
They explained how they had been watching the skies year after year and had seen the dramatic changes. They had enquired with King Herod about the new born king but he had seemed shocked and disturbed by their news. Joseph gave Mary a concerned look as they both felt uneasy at the mention of King Herod.
As the men explained how the star had appeared and moved to where Jesus lay a great excitement bubbled forth, “today we meet a great King and we have prepared gifts for him”. Each man brought forth a small chest and presented them to Mary, with shaking hands she opened them one by one to find gold, frankincense and myrrh. Tears of gratitude rolled down her face and she thanked them for their kind words and generous gifts. The men visited with Mary, Joseph and Jesus for a little while discussing in great detail their journey and observations and then rested nearby.
The next morning they bid farewell to Joseph as Mary and Jesus slept and explained that they would not return the way they had come because they had all had dreams that warned them to not return via King Herod. As Joseph thanked them again he wondered if Mary was strong enough to leave also because the Magi’s words had increased the unsettled feeling in Joseph’s heart.

“All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” Isaiah 7:14 (NLT)

Picture – Westminister Church PCA

Read the visit of the Wise Men in Matthew 2:1-12

The Greatest Story. Part 1: Joy To The World

Mary had feared so many things about this pregnancy. She had feared when the angel had visited her…. Mary had awakened many months ago with her heart beat madly in her chest, a disturbing dream had gripped her entire body with fear and then someone had called her name in the dark of the night. Mary had been too scared to answer and then her room had been filled with a blinding light. Mary had held her arm up to her eyes in an attempt to block the light. As it had dimmed slightly Mary gasped and realised that someone had been standing in her room. Mary had called out: “Who are you?!”. The response had surprised her: “Mary, my name is Gabriel I have been sent from God with a message for you”. It was then that Mary’s entire body had trembled. Gabriel had continued his greeting to her: “greetings and grace to you, young favoured one. The Lord is with you!”. His words had meant to comfort her but Mary’s concern and confusion had grown as her mind raced to grasp the situation and the words. As if he completely understood her fear and confusion Gabriel had proclaimed: “Do not be afraid dear precious Mary, for you have found great favour with God.”

Mary had sat up straighter and focused her heart upon Gabriel’s words, she had fought hard against the fear gripping her heart. Then Gabriel’s words had granted her a great peace and the moment that Jesus was implanted in her womb she had felt as if peace had been implanted into her heart.

That peace was desperately needed as she had tried to find the words to explain to Joseph something that was unexplainable. Her heart had physically hurt as she watched disbelief and betrayal flash through his eyes. She hadn’t blamed him at all because her story was extremely hard to believe. She had tried to articulate the experience of seeing an angel and the message given. She had tried to explain that the Spirit of God had implanted the precious child within. She had wept for days wondering what his response was going to be. She had known that he could have accused her of adultery and that would mean being stoned, but her prayers had been answered and God had confirmed her story through an angelic visitor to Joseph. They had both wept tears as he had retold her about how close he had came to letting her go.

Mary reflected upon the fact that God had delivered her then and tried to ignite the peace in her heart. But as a strong contraction hit she felt a desperate need to find somewhere safe and fear began to creep into her heart. It was if this whole journey had been shadowed by fear and she had feared so many things.

Mary lifted her weary head, her dusty tear stained cheeks revealed just how painful and difficult the journey had been. She watched through her grit filled eyes as Joseph dragged her and their faithful donkey from place to place, she heard his desperate pleading for a room and wondered if they would ever find a place to rest. Mary cried out to God as another pain hit her abdomen, the birth pains had started as soon as the outskirts of Bethlehem had come into view and were much more frequent and strong now. Mary hadn’t needed to tell Joseph that the time of delivery was imminent because he had sensed it the first moment she had let out a soft moan. Joseph’s kindness, love and concern for her was evident in his pleas with each place they stopped. Joseph had almost exhausted all of his family contacts and there was only a handful of places to try. Mary’s pains continued regardless of the fact that she feared delivering her baby in the street with no shelter. Joseph looked at Mary with utter love and concern as he appologised:  “I’m so sorry we only have 1 more place to try”, Mary tried to smile but tears poured down her cheeks instead, she took a deep breath and mumbled “then let’s pray they can help us”. Mary tried to not get angry about the fact they had travelled for days and now there appeared to be no place for her to rest. She tried not to rage at the injustice of it all, how was she suppose to give birth? Was it to be on the back of the donkey? She feared that she really was going to deliver her child in the middle of the street! What if they could find some sort of shelter, but what? Under some tree if they could find one? Under a stall holder’s table? There simply seemed to be nowhere!

Mary had been afraid of many things but the conditions of her birth hadn’t entered her mind until now. The injustice of the Roman rule seemed personified in this moment just because they wanted to greedily grab every tax penny they could Caesar Augustus had issued a decree for a census to be taken of the entire Roman world. This ruling had forced her and Joseph to travel from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea, the town of Joseph’s ancestor King David. Mary had feared their journey through the frightening Jordan valley wondering if they would face a lion or a band of robbers, knowing that both would show no mercy or acknowledgement to the fact that Joseph had ties back to King David and that she was bearing the Messiah. Mary had felt such relief when they had made it through the dim forest without too many troubles. Joseph had done an amazing job of finding shelter at just the right moment, so Mary placed her trust in him once again and thanked God for getting them here safely. As they made their way to the last place on Joseph’s list Mary issued another desperate plea to God.

The man who answered the door tried to explain that he simply had no room but as Mary’s moans rung out in his ears a great compassion filled his heart. He quickly ushered them inside and raced to find his wife.

Mary tried to get comfortable in the hay but the smell of the animals around her made her stomach turn. She issued a prayer though because she was so grateful to have finally found somewhere to rest but if she was honest this hadn’t been what she had imagined. Her ears had registered that they were surrounded by animals but it had taken her eyes quite some time to adjust in the dim light to see them all around her. Mary now smiled at the three sheep who had quickly surrounded her, they had simply ignored Joseph’s prodding and she was grateful for their warmth and comfort. “Joseph” Mary cried out “I did not expect to give birth here!” Joseph apologised yet again to Mary and knelt down beside her “I know I’m so sorry”.

“It’s ok” Mary gasped and Joseph reached for her, “do you want me to try and move those sheep away?”. Mary shook her head “no it’s ok I appreciate the warmth and softness of their wool, it’s actually kinda comfy now”. Joseph smiled and stroked the head of the sheep closets to him  “This journey has made me think a lot about my ancestor King David, he probably slept in a place like where you’re sitting right now”. Mary smiled and nodded unable to speak as another pain gripped her stomach. When the pain finally eased Mary gasped out for help. Just then the homeowner’s wife came rushing to Mary’s side with comforting words. She was soon issuing orders to her husband and Joseph who acted quickly and obediently to the commands issued.

A little while later the sheer terror of the past few hours melted away as Mary gazed into her newborn son’s eyes. Her body felt heavy from the arduous journey, the hours of pain and her arms shook slightly as she reached out for her son. Mary smiled as she watched Joseph gently hold and coo at Jesus, she desperately wanted to enjoy some quiet and calm but surrounded by animals and strangers she felt on high alert.

Joseph had urged her to get some sleep but the adrenaline was still racing through her veins, her racing heart refused to slow down and her tired eyes simply wouldn’t close. Mary shifted in the blankets and lent back into the warmness of the sheep around her. Her trio of comforters hadn’t left her side despite many attempts by Joseph and the owners to shift them. Eventually Mary had managed to convince Joseph that they were a comfort to her and so their presence still remained. As she laid back the companion to her right lifted her head to gaze at her, Mary reached out and stroked the curious nose “I’m ok” she whispered quietly. The sheep looked around as if checking all was ok, looked back at Mary and sighed. Despite her exhaustion Mary laughed, it was as if these three mild creatures had taken on the role of being her personal body guards.

“For today in Bethlehem a rescuer was born for you. He is the Lord Yahweh, the Messiah. You will recognize him by this miracle sign: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough!” Luke 2:11-12 The Passion Translation

sheep

Mother and Baby Picture – Pixabay

Sheep Picture – Pixabay

Joy To The World – Jeremy Riddle – YouTube video

Notes: This story is inspired by the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus. I hadn’t ever really considered what the journey would be like between Nazarene and Bethlehem and I was surprised when I read Los Angeles Times article explaining that the journey was fraught with danger. Joseph and Mary had to contend with a long (90 miles/144 kilometres) difficult journey and possibly content with things like lions, bears, wild boars and bandits.

When Joseph and Mary finally made it there would have been such a sense of relief but then to find no shelter would have been terrifying. Mary would have longed to be around people she was comfortable with and also to have some skilled people on hand such as midwives. Giving birth is a dangerous thing especially back in those days when mortality rates were much higher. For her to have been surrounded by animals is very likely and believable. As James Cooper explains homes in those times were built with at least 2 levels: the ground floor was used by the family during the day but was where the animals slept at night while the family slept on the first level. Sometimes there was even an upper room which was a guest room on the roof.

Forgiveness Series – Part 4: Keys of Forgiveness

As I mentioned in my previous post I found it hard to completely let go of angry-Keona and I unfortunately found her rearing up her ugly head more times than I would have liked. One of the first keys of forgiveness is remembering that it is a process and a journey that we allow God to take us on. I absolutely love Corrie ten Boom’s testimony and when it comes to forgiveness I love the wisdom that she shares: “If there’s one thing I’ve learned at 80 years of age, it’s that I can’t store up good feelings and behavior–but only draw them fresh from God each day.”

There is no way you or I can possibly forgive others without God’s help, I know that I desperately need His forgiveness and love and grace and mercy and ….  much more to flow in my life each and EVERY day so that it can overflow to the lives of those around me!

“Forgiving others takes the power of God. We can’t do it in our own strength. But Jesus can help us. If you are struggling with unforgiveness or bitterness toward someone, cry out to God to help you. Seek counsel, talk to a trusted mature Christian or your pastor. If you know someone was sinned against in a significant way and worked through it and came to a place of forgiveness, get together with them and seek their insights.” Dennis Vargas

We see here that Dennis identified more keys of forgiveness that available to us:

  • The power of God
  • Jesus’ help
  • Others – we can find help from mature Christians

The power of God

Choosing to forgive is something only we can do, God cannot force us to do it BUT He will prompt and invite us to forgive because that is His heart for us. Choosing to forgive is the start of forgiveness from our heart. Then we need to let go of the emotions attached to unforgiveness, surrender them to God. It’s important to remember that God is the Lord of forgiveness so He will most definitely assist us.

“When we forgive, we aren’t dismissing the pain or betrayal that’s taken place. We release the offense to a God who is no stranger to pain or betrayal. Forgiveness declares that grace is greater than bitterness or resentment. It doesn’t give a shred of power to our offender. It sets us free.” Tiffany Bluhm

Jesus’ help

“His grace enables us to forgive those who have caused the deepest wounds. Forgiveness is not done in our strength, but is the result of partnering with Jesus.” Amanda Lindsey Cook

Remember Jesus was able to cry out for forgiveness for those who hurt Him. Jesus knows what it’s like to be betrayed and sadly I know we’ve all betrayed Him many times. It’s important to remember the real power of redemption – that Jesus’ sacrifice purchased for us. It is through the blood of Jesus that every sin is broken, every spot and stain can be cleansed from our lives and we can find wholeness. It is because of the blood shed on the cross that we are restored and reconciled to God (Colossians 1:20).

Others – we can find help from mature Christians

There may be some matters in our lives that are too hard for us to handle alone, this is where we can ask for a mature Christian to assist us and pray for us and with us. We can confess our false steps; our offences; and pray for others so that we may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayers of a righteous believer can accomplish much when they are made effective through God’s dynamic and tremendous power (James 5:16).

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you”. C.S. Lewis

When it comes to relationships that affect you on an ongoing basis I encourage you to spend time seeking God’s wisdom.  Boundaries are healthy and hurt can come when the right boundaries are not in place or are not clear. Also, there may be some relationships that simply need to end, this can be for a short-term period or for an extended period, please seek God’s heart on the matter.

Here’s a prayer that you can pray:

Lord where anger and resentment has reigned I ask You to minister to those areas of hurt, remove all residue of anger and fill me with lovingkindness. I desire to be “filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5 NLT).

I acknowledge that I need wisdom to know how to forgive and how to interact with others in a healthy way. Lord I ask for a mind that is filled with things that honour and glorify God, help me to fix my eyes firmly upon holiness and righteousness. I want to love those around me with a genuine and grace-filled love, so I can serve them well. I want to be quick to forgive and be someone who restrains from offending others. I want to be a person of virtue who lives in fear and adoration of Jesus. I want the Holy Spirit to be my Teacher, my Refiner and Strengthener.

I want to serve the Lord in a way that reveals my immense gratitude for all that He has done, is doing and will do. I want to be salt and light – bring life and light to people and situations.

I declare that “The forgiveness of God doesn’t just flow to me, it flows through me. Because I am forgiven, I can forgive others.” (Pastor Steven Furtick)

Lord God I ask You to direct me throughout my journey so I can experience Your good and perfect 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 and I entwine my heart into Yours! I rely upon Your perfection and faithfulness to be my bodyguards, for You’re my hope and I trust in You as my only protection (Psalm 25:4-5, 21 TPT paraphrased). In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Many blessings, Keona

Image – Pixabay

Forgiveness Series – Part 2: Captive vs Prisoner

Is there a difference between a captive and a prisoner? In the Bethel Sozo training dvd they state that there is and refer to the following Bible verse:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” Isaiah 61:1 (NLT)

Here we read the reference to captives and prisoners and my interest was sparked. In Luke 4:21 (NLT) Jesus reads the above scripture and declares that: “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”. Therefore, Jesus came to release the captives and free the prisoners. But what is the difference? My research has led me to the following:

As a captive we are taken from being free to having constrains or bondages placed upon us. Although we might still be in a familiar place we are restrained from being able to move freely. Captives are usually dealt with harshly, they receive no mercy, and are usually abused therefore suffer horrific treatment. The Israelites were led away in chains from Jerusalem to Babylon (Jeremiah 40:1) physically but we can find ourselves in such a state spiritually. As a captive we may be bound but still able to move around a bit. Captivity usually entails moving from a familiar place to an unfamiliar place where we become a prisoner. As a prisoner we don’t have liberty (freedom) we may be still restrained but we are also now confined and or contained in an unfamiliar place. Not much movement can happen if any at all. As a prisoner we move from being captured and shackled to now being in a prison cell.

God highlighted to me that as a:

  • Captive we are restrained
  • Prisoner may still be restrained but are now also confined

My story, about being imprisoned, was written to try and convey the idea that someone has taken us captive, put us in chains and done unspeakable things to us. Then thrown us into a prison cell leaving us to die in great pain. The person who has hurt us may think of us no more or they may come back to taunt us each day. Whatever the case is we can be free.

 Liberty and Freedom

Oxford Living Dictionaries defines liberty as: The state of being free.…from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life or behaviour…

Bible Study Tools explains liberty as the opposite of servitude or bondage, hence, applicable to captives or slaves set free from oppression.

Oxford Living Dictionaries defines freedom as: the state of not being affected by something undesirable; and a special privilege or right of access.

Bible Study Tools states that the theme of freedom rings loudly in one of the most crucial sections of Scripture, namely the narrative of the exodus. God’s people were enslaved in Egypt, they were suffering and He desired to see them set free. God longed to see His people reconciled to Him and He wanted them free so that they could love and serve Him. But the people found it hard to obey God and love Him with their whole hearts. Psalm 106:43 states that God rescued them many times but they continued in their rebellious ways, they chose to ignore His warnings which meant they sank lower and lower into wickedness and were destroyed by their depravity. Romans 8 (5,7) explains that our human minds fix upon things which satisfy the flesh, we have a mindset that is actively hostile towards God’s plan and refuses to submit to His direction; laws and instructions because it simply can’t. This reveals that there was a deeper issue than just physical captivity. There was a divine liberty that was needed.

But what is this divine liberty?

In Luke 1 we read that redemption has come and that Jesus brings us salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us (Luke 1:68,71).

They prophesied he would come one day and save us from every one of our enemies and from the power of those who hate us.” Luke 1:71 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Romans 8 explains that God sent Jesus to accomplish what the law was unable to accomplish, because the law was limited by the weakness of human nature. We were imprisoned and held within the fierce grip of sin. To experience freedom we need to be clear about who has authority over us, if we are captured or imprisoned we need to understand who we are in bondage to. We need to ask ourselves the tough questions such as: Have I given full authority of my life to God? Have I asked Him to release me from the bondage of sin? Have I claimed my redemption through Jesus?

In 2 Peter 1 Simon-Peter refers to himself as being a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ. Another way of describing this is that Peter chose to be a loving servant of Jesus, he acknowledges Jesus as having authority over him. Peter committed himself to serve Jesus in any way that he could, and we know that he served to the point of death!

For a captive to be released or a prisoner to be freed someone has to speak in their defence, a proclamation of freedom needs to be made and proof provided to show their innocence.

The wonderful news is that Jesus has and will always speak in our defence, He has proclaimed and will forever proclaim our freedom!!!!

His scarred and nail pierced body is the eternal evidence that paid the price; Jesus’ blood claims our redemption; and Jesus provides the evidence we need for innocence!!!

Jesus bore the price for all of our sins. WOW! Isn’t that just too wonderful?

Let’s look at that some more and try to fully understand this truly wonderful Good News:

We are liberated:

Romans 8:2 declares that the law of the Spirit of life flows through Jesus Christ to us as His followers and we are set free (liberated) from the law of sin and death.

Because Jesus has paid the price:

Jesus was sent in human form (in the likeness of a sinful man) to identify with human weakness and as an offering for sin (Romans 8:3b).

Jesus personally carried the sins of the world in His body upon the cross, that is our past sin, any present sin and any sins we may commit in the future. They are ALL covered because Jesus willingly offered Himself as a sacrifice for us! Jesus’ great sacrifice has made us dead to sin, which means that we are immune from the penalty of our sins, and we are no longer held with the power of sin. With Jesus as our Lord and Saviour we can live a life of righteousness. Jesus’ body was beaten, whipped and wounded so that we can declare: ‘by Jesus’ stripes we are healed!’ (1 Peter 2:24).

When Jesus becomes our Lord and Saviour we can hold to the following promises:

  • No longer live a life according to our flesh chasing after worldly things
  • Live our lives guided by the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit
  • Have a brand-new mindset which brings us life and peace
  • we have spiritual wellbeing because we walk with God
  • The Spirit of God empowers our lives and directs and guides us
  • The Spirit we receive is one of full acceptance, we are adopted as God’s children because we receive the Spirit of complete sonship which means that we are God’s consecrated children! (see Romans 8:4, 6b, 9, 15 &16)

Forgive others

Because we have received God’s grace and complete forgiveness we’re required to forgive others. God can, and wants to, enable us to forgive; to let go of all of the emotions and strongholds; and to leave that place of imprisonment behind!

We can be truly set free!

Forgiveness may not change the person we’ve forgiven. But The power of forgiveness sets us free! When we forgive the person who hurt us they no longer have any power over us, we’re out of that prison cell and we NEVER have to go back!!

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy.

We have to fight for our freedom every step of the way.

We have to deny that part of us that wants vengeance.

It’s going to be tough BUT the reward is freedom!

The reward is walking in right relationship with God which will put us in a place where we can receive all the healing balm we need!

“The question isn’t how much forgiveness do they deserve. The question is, how much freedom do you desire?” Pastor Steven Furtick

Here is my prayer:

Lord Jesus, You came to bring the Good News and I ask You to come and comfort my broken heart. Lord whatever is binding me I ask to be set free because You came so that the captives could be released. Lord whatever is imprisoning me I ask for You to release me because You came so that the prisoners could be freed (Isaiah 61:1 & Luke 4:21).

Lord Jesus I believe that you personally carried the sins of the world in Your body upon the cross, that is my past sin, any present sin and any sins I may commit in the future. Thank You that they are ALL covered because Jesus You willingly offered Yourself as a sacrifice for me! Jesus Your great sacrifice has made me dead to sin, which means that I’m immune from the penalty of my sins, and I’m no longer held with the power of sin. With Jesus as my Lord and Saviour I can live a life of righteousness. Jesus’ body was beaten, whipped and wounded so that I can declare: ‘by Jesus’ stripes I AM healed!’ (1 Peter 2:24).

Because Jesus is my Lord and Saviour I no longer live a life according to my flesh I will no longer chase after worldly things; I will live my life guided by the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit; I have a brand-new mindset which brings life and peace; I have spiritual wellbeing because I now walk with God; the Spirit of God empowers my life, leading directing and guiding me; I have received the  Spirit of full acceptance which means that I’m adopted (through Christ Jesus) as God’s child, I receive the Spirit of complete sonship which means that I’m God’s consecrated child! (Romans 8:4, 6b, 9, 15 &16).

I desire to walk in the abundant life that you promise (John 10:10). In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, Amen.

Many blessings, Keona

The Mirror Said

The mirror said: “you’re not pretty enough” and I believed the lie

The mirror said: “you’re not skinny enough” and I believed the lie

The mirror said: “no one likes you” and I believed the lie

The mirror said: “the world would be better off without you” and I believed the lie

For many years I thought myself never pretty enough

For many years I thought myself too fat and flabby to be truly adored

For many years I thought myself not worthy of true love

For many years I thought my life didn’t really matter

I placed no value upon myself and considered my life of no great consequence

Who would truly miss me if I no longer existed?

But how wrong those lies now seem how silly the deception

For a man once saw me as a priceless treasure

He said my life was worth all that He could give and so that’s just what He did

He died upon a lonely cross to show me His great love

He rose again and lives today to prove how much He cares

Each and every day He calls to me and says: ‘beloved come near’

How wrong it was for me to look into a piece of glass

How distorted the image returned to me twisted without love

For a mirror can never truly tell me of my great worth

For my worth is found deep inside a hidden treasure chest

My Saviour alone holds the key

He unlocks the chest

And when I trust Him fully He unpacks each part

He teaches me how my value lies within

for true beauty is found within a heart that’s pure

What the mirror says no longer matters!

 

Mirror – Barlow Girl – YouTube lyrics clip

Picture cred – Pixabay