My Father’s Eyes

During High School I faced a really tough couple of years where I was constantly bullied. I would come home from school every day in tears with my heart in absolute turmoil. I had been given one of Amy Grant’s cd’s and I would shut myself in my room to sing and cry. As I reflect upon that time I’m truly amazed at how God used Amy’s songs to sustain me. In particular one of the songs I loved was “Father’s Eyes” where Amy sings:

“I pray:
When people look inside my life, I want to hear them say:

‘She’s got her Father’s eyes, her Father’s eyes;
eyes that find the good in things, when good is not around;
eyes that find the source of help, when help just can’t be found;
eyes full of compassion, seeing every pain;
knowing what you’re going through and feeling it the same.’
Just like my Father’s eyes…”

That song became my prayer. I desperately wanted God to help me to see the good in people, to look past the hurtful words they hurled at me. I desperately longed to be taught how to be kind when all I received was cruelty. A desire was implanted within my heart to be Jesus’ example to others. I wanted to become compassionate, merciful, gracious and kind.

Decades later I was reminded of that prayer when a dear friend said to me: “when I look into your eyes I see Jesus”. I have to tell you that in that moment tears came to my eyes and as I write this I’m crying. My prayer was answered when my dear friend took the time to speak to my heart and confirm a prayer that I had almost forgotten I’d prayed.

Recently I was challenged to think about what I want to be remembered for. As I reflected upon that question I was reminded about my desire and my long ago prayer. It is my desire: “that when you’re called to stand and tell just what you saw in me, more than anything I know, I want your words to be: ‘She had her Father’s eyes’..”.

My prayer:

Lord I want to have eyes that find the good in things, when good is not around. Help me to see Your goodness at work in each and every situation I face because You are good and do good (Psalm 119:68).

 Lord I want to have eyes that find the source of help, when help just can’t be found. Because Almighty God You promise to be my faithful source of help in my times of need; You’re my refuge and strength; and a very present help in moments of trouble (Psalm 46:1).

Lord I want to have eyes full of compassion that see every pain, knowing what people are going through and feeling it the same. Jesus I ask for You to impart to me Your compassion for others (Mark 1:41, Mark 6:34).

Holy Spirit I ask for Your great comfort and encouragement so that I can comfort and encourage others with the comfort and encourage that You alone can bestow (2 Corinthians 1:4).

In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Note: “Father’s Eyes” was released by Amy in 1979, songwriter: Gary Winthur Chapman.

Many blessings, Keona

‘Father’s Eyes’ – Amy Grant – YouTube lyrics video

Picture cred – Pixabay

What is Prayer?

God has been taking me on an exciting journey of discovering and I’ve been asking: just what is prayer? In my studies I discover the Hebrew word for prayer: tefillah (tey-fill-ah), the definitions given are:

  • to “self evaluate” going on to explain that the Jews would compare their actions, behaviour and attitude against God’s holiness. Dave Adamson
  • the root is: ‘to think, entreat, judge, intercede’, and the reflexive: ‘to judge oneself’, and ‘to pray’.  Encyclopedia.com
  • “a labor of awakening the hidden love within the heart until a state of intimate union with the divine is achieved.” Going on to explain that it’s “communion, a joining together of mind and spirit.” Tzvi Freeman

The self evaluate definition is confirmed in 2 Corinthians 13:5, 9 we’re urged to test and evaluate ourselves, this means to look closely at our faith and the way that we are living our lives. We are to examine ourselves on a regular basis to ensure that we are living as Jesus Christ wants us to. We are to be genuine examples of Christ not counterfeit. But it also assures us that we don’t need to fear, fret or worry if we find ourselves weak because we can ask for God’s power to freely flow through us and make us complete – fully restored and mature in godly character and spirit!

The cry to self-examine is something that can make me feel very uncomfortable and it’s not an easy thing to do. As I’ve been reflecting upon it I’ve been reminded of a story my husband told me. He witnessed a road accident between a car and a motor bike. The motorcyclist tried to get up almost immediately after the accident had sent him crashing to the road and he was trying to walk upon a broken leg in an attempt to get his bike off the road. My husband kept urging the cyclist to sit down as his leg didn’t look too good (it was twisted the wrong way) but the guy kept trying and trying and kept falling down getting more and more frustrated and angry. Eventually the emergency services arrived and the guy was calmed down and taken to hospital. As I pondered on that story I realised that I can be like that motorcyclist, I have a big issue to deal with but I’m too focused on the smaller issue. God patiently and lovingly asks me time after time to sit down and listen, to deal with the bigger issue assuring me that the smaller issue will be dealt with also.

But I’m encouraged by the truth that examination will lead to me prayer and thus transformation!

“Through prayer we move from where we are to where we ought to be ….. because in prayer (the speech of the devoted heart), the soul climbs higher and higher: ascending step by step, from its present level to the very peak of all levels, drawn upwards by its passion for God, until it becomes fully absorbed in the radiance of the Infinite, blessed be He.”J.Immanuel Schochet

As I lay my big and small issue before the One I love He gently and kindly deals with them. As I trust God to be my Jehovah Rapha (the God who heals see Exodus 15:26) I know that daily He can heal, cure, restore and make me whole.

I can declare that my sins have been taken away from me as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103) and can live my life in freedom!

Praise the Lord all of my soul!

With my whole heart, my whole life and with my innermost being I bow in wonder before the One I love. I urge my soul to bless and affectionately praise the Lord. I desire for all that is within me to give praise, glory and honour to my Saviour Jesus. I invite the Holy Spirit to come and do a great work in my life.

I urge my mind to remember ALL of my Lord’s wonderful and life-giving benefits! I call to mind the miracles of kindness that I’ve witnessed in my life: my heart has been kissed and healed with forgiveness, for He has forgiven ALL of my sins and wrong doings. I have received healing from all sickness and diseases. My life has been redeemed from the pit of death and destruction. I’m lavishly crowned with lovingkindness and tender mercy. The Lord satisfies my life with good things and my life is reinvigorated, I feel as if I am an eagle soaring great heights.

Praise the Lord all of my soul!

Abba makes things right because He executes righteousness and grants justice to the defenceless. Just as He did for the children of Israel He makes know His ways to us, revealing what He alone can do.

Praise the Lord all of my soul!

God is so kind and tender-hearted; He is merciful and gracious; slow to anger; abounding in compassion and lovingkindness. He is always patient with people who fail Him because His love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness.

The Lord has not dealt with us according to our sins and we are not punished according to our wickedness. The Almighty is not holding a grudge against us or disciplining us because of our sins.

NO! Rather as high as the heavens are above the earth is how far our wickedness has been removed from us! As far as the east is from the west is how far our sins have been removed from us!

Praise the Lord all of my soul!

Our Heavenly Father is a loving father who has tender and compassionate feelings towards us. How He smiles when we come into His presence with awe-filled respect and deep reverence.

Our Lord knows all about us, inside and out, and is mindful that we’re made from mere dust.

Our days are momentary moments that swiftly fade away, what is left behind for others to remember us by?

In contrast the Lord God Almighty has endless lovingkindness that stretches from everlasting to everlasting; His love is unbroken and unrelenting toward those who fear Him. The Lord’s unfailing faithfulness passes from parents to children, to grandchildren, and beyond. So what legacy can we leave? The love of the Lord which has been imprinted upon our hearts as a rich inheritance for the generations to follow!

Praise the Lord all of my soul!

God’s heavenly throne is established in the heavens, it is eternal, secure, and strong! His sovereignty rules over the entire universe.

Therefore, bless and praise the Lord you messengers of power, you His angels, who do His commandments and obey the voice of His word!

Bless the Lord all you mighty warriors who serve Him, do His will and fulfil His desires.

Let all of God’s works throughout the earth, wherever His dominion stretches, praise the Lord!

As for me, I will bless and affectionately praise the Lord with my whole heart for ALL of my days!

Praise the Lord all of my soul!

(Inspired by Psalm 103 Amplified and The Passion Translation)

‘You Came to My Rescue’ – Christy Nockels – YouTube lyrics video

Image – Pixabay

Press in and Receive

2 years have passed since that wonderful day when God intervened in my long-term illness and healed me! It’s been 2 years of deep inner and restoration. 2 years of cherishing every day because there were many days I didn’t think I could go on.

As I celebrated the day quietly at home I heard the words: “press in and receive” ring in my heart.

As I reflected upon those words I wondered what they could mean and then I knew that I needed to “stop and take some time and wonder…..” (Isaiah 29:9a Amplified).

I started to research what it is to press into God and to unpack the word receive but before I could read the article links I had saved my answer came.  A friend posted on Facebook an extract from Psalms 62 and I was reminded of the journey God has taken me on of developing a worshiping heart.

“I’m energized every time I enter your heavenly sanctuary to seek more of your power and drink in more of your glory. For your tender mercies mean more to me than life itself. How I love and praise you, God! Daily I will worship you passionately and with all my heart. My arms will wave to you like banners of praise. I overflow with praise when I come before you, for the anointing of your presence satisfies me like nothing else. You are such a rich banquet of pleasure to my soul.” Psalms 63:2-5 The Passion Translation

I declared:

  • How I love and praise You God!
  • My arms wave to You like banners of praise.

I’ve discovered that pressing into God is simply spending time listening to worship music and or reading the Bible. It has been in my times of entering into His presence with praise that I have received refreshing and renewal. Therefore, the words: “press in and receive” were a reminder to keep praising, to keep seeking His face so that I can receive the promised restoration. I believe that there is so much that God wants to bestow upon us but I also know that we need to be in a place of being able to receive.

My prayer:

Oh Lord thank You that I’m energized every time I enter into Your heavenly sanctuary! I long for and seek more of Your power and desire to drink in more of Your glory. Lord God, Your tender mercies mean more to me than life itself. Thank You for developing my heart of worship, I now passionately love and praise You God! Daily I will worship You passionately with all of my heart, my arms will wave to You like banners of praise. I overflow with praise when I come before You, for the anointing of Your presence satisfies me like nothing else. You are such a rich banquet of pleasure to my soul!

Psalms 63:2-5 The Passion Translation paraphrased

I encourage you today to spend some time pressing in so that you can receive. Here is a YouTube playlist for you: Soak in God’s presence

Many blessings, Keona

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