WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – Hush!

Wednesday Reflection – July 31, 2019

Hush!

The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him! Habakkuk 2:20  

The first two chapters of Habakkuk consist of a dialogue between the prophet and God. Habakkuk dared to openly question Yahweh. First, the prophet is upset with God’s presumed indifference in the face of clear injustice, and then he objects to the action God is taking. God has seemingly sided with idolaters. God responds by assuring Habakkuk that the perpetrators will face repercussions in the form of five woes. The conversation ends with addressing the absurdity of idolatrous worship. God gets the final word by reassuring the prophet, “But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”

I believe God was asserting that he is active and present in the midst of the turbulences in the world. Chandler Vinson agrees and posits that, “Contrary to popular belief and despite the apparent silence, God is in fact on the job. Yahweh is not a helpless bystander but is rather perched in a position of power ready to act.” God being present in his temple signals a reminder that the temple was established as the source from which divine instruction and help would come. The consecrated temple was the place where God would teach, and even if God should have to discipline his disobedient people, he would also hear and forgive.

As God is in his holy temple, he is available to help. Indeed the context of the verse juxtaposes God’s capability with the ineptitude of false idols who say and do nothing. The idol sits where it is put without the ability to hear or to respond, but the Lord, full of almighty power, is in his holy temple ready to respond to the needs of his people. Despite all that we go through, God is not powerless nor disinterested. Instead, he is in our midst and at work. The challenge is that most times we want to see that God is at work and we want to know what he is doing. But, would we need faith? Absolutely not! God calls us to entrust ourselves completely in his care and trust him to take care of us.

The conversation ends abruptly as there is a call to “be silent”.  The Hebrew word ‘hacah’ is actually more forceful. It means “Hush!” This command is given to all the earth. The prophet who thought that God was silent is himself silenced by the Almighty. This indicates a demonstration of respect. There is nothing more to say or be said. Ironically, the command to silence evokes praise. Though a gap may exist between chapters 2 and 3, the book concludes with a psalm of praise. The book that begins with complaints ends with praise, evidence that God’s affirmation had a profound effect on the prophet.

The text forces us to ask, has God ever converted our complaints to praise? Is there a place for silence in communal worship? When do we find time to be silent before the Lord? What great benefits there are when we hush before the Lord!

Jermaine Gibson

TUESDAY REFLECTION – Receive God’s Goodness Now

Tuesday Reflection – July 30, 2019

Receive God’s Goodness Now

Psalm 27 was written by David in the early years of his life, some believe while he was being chased by King Saul. David’s life was threatened but he faced this threat with confidence, courage and fearlessness because of his faith in God. Today’s watchword is a statement of the courage. I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 27: 13. Life’s struggles can paralyze us with fear, but those who know and trust the Lord can be confident of receiving God’s goodness not only in the future but also in the here and now. 

God’s goodness comes with His divine presence. When the Holy Spirit indwells us, it is a guarantee of God’s presence in our lives. The omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence of God gives confidence to all believers. We know that God is always there, knows everything, and is all powerful. Acts 17: 27 reminds us that ‘He is not far from any of us.’  David was in despair but he was neither lost nor hopeless because his confidence was in the God who was present with Him. Regardless of what we face we should remain confident in God’s unchanging ability, love and grace. The person who remains in God’s presence will experience God’s goodness in the here and now.

Through God’s goodness we are given divine guidance. Divine guidance is God’s will at work in the universe. God guides and directs our lives and at times will lead us. We are not always aware of this guidance or leading, but the results of obediently following will always serve to show us God at work in our lives. When we follow God’s guidance His plan for our lives is carried out as we live according to His will. Life offers us many directions, many paths, but when we trust God’s guidance we will be like trees planted by the river which cannot be easily moved, cannot be easily swayed. When God guides us, our faith keeps us firmly grounded and like David we can say ‘I would have fallen if I had not believed that I will see God’s goodness in the land of the living’. Remember we are guided by God’s plan for us, a plan to prosper us, uplift us, give us great hope and a brighter future.

With God’s goodness comes divine protection. There are many verses in scripture that assures us of God’s protection. Romans 8 asks ‘if God is for us, who can be against us?’. In Ex 19: 4 God reminded his people that he ‘carried them on wings of eagles to himself.’ When an eagle spreads its wings, it can reach as wide as seven feet. With such wings the eagle can soar higher than any other bird. The wings also serve to protect their young. The eagle spreads its wings to provide shade and when it is cold it wraps its wings around its young. Psalm 46 reminds us that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. We have no reason to fear regardless of what is happening around us. You will not be loved by everyone and not everyone will support what you do. In face you will meet opposition along the way but do not give up, rather you should remember who walks with you, remember whose you are. Remember God’s promise through Isaiah: ‘No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.’ You are blessed to be a blessing all because of God’s goodness.
Remain therefore in God’s presence, guided and protected by the Holy Spirit for God keeps in perfect peace those whose minds and hearts are dedicated to Him and we receive His goodness now.  Amen.

Bevon White

MONDAY REFLECTION – The Answering God

Monday Reflection – July 29, 2019

The Answering God

The Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. 1 Samuel 1:27

From I was very young, and I imagine the same for most of you, I learnt and sung frequently the chorus, “Whisper a Prayer in the Morning”. I have always loved the second verse, “God answers prayer in the morning, God answers prayer at noon, God answers prayer in the evening, so keep your hearts in tune.” This simple chorus affirms the truth that God leaves no prayer unanswered. We may not like the answer, but God always answers.

Hannah, and by extension her son Samuel, is a testimony to answered prayer. Hannah had gone to the temple to lay her burden to the Lord – she desperately needed a son. She went to the temple, passed Eli at the temple doors and entered the sanctuary of the Lord with bitterness in her soul. She prayed to the Lord, wept in anguish, and poured out her soul before the Lord. Such was not in vain, for God granted her request. In celebration and fulfillment of her promise to the Lord, Hannah took young Samuel and dedicated him to the Lord. Hannah shares her testimony with Eli pointing out that the Lord has granted her petition.

Interestingly, while Eli was weak and his sons were wicked, Elkanah and Hannah prayed to the Lord. Deliverance had come to God’s people from the little village home, and not from the sacred Tabernacle. Isn’t this true of most situations in the Bible? The world’s Redeemer came from the manger at Bethlehem, not from palace, nor from the temple at Jerusalem. God has a mysterious way of doing his work, often confusing us and turning things upside down. After all, God’s standards are not ours, and his thoughts and ways are higher than ours.  

Hannah named her son Samuel and this was intended to be a lifelong reminder to him that he was the Lord’s. How critical it is for us to dedicate our children to God in their infancy! It is also an indication that we cannot begin to serve God too young. Let’s think of little Samuel knowing something about worship at three years old! We should carefully foster and nurture our children in the fear of the Lord. Indeed, the tender blade must precede the full corn in the ear. We should also be deliberate in praying for them. We hear the story of Samuel Budgett who, at nine years of age, was passing his mother’s door and heard his mother engaged in earnest prayer for her family and for himself by name. He thought, “My mother is more earnest about my soul than I am.” In that hour he decided to serve Christ, and the impressions thus made were never effaced.

I wish to also emphasize that we should let others know the benefits we have received from the Lord. Hannah spoke to Eli of her answered prayers. Not just that, but in the chapter that follows today’s text, Hannah breaks out into prayer and song declaring God’s holiness, knowledge, might and purpose. We readily speak well of a friend who does us a kindness, but how often do we testify of God’s goodness to us? We must never be afraid or shy to share of God’s faithfulness and care extended to us. Infact, we should use every opportunity to do so; we can never tell how such will encourage another in their journey and cause someone to surrender to the Lord. May God be honoured through our witness. Amen.

Jermaine Gibson

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – God’s Poured-Out Love

Wednesday Reflection – July 24, 2019

God’s Poured-Out Love

I will look to the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.

Micah 7:7

“Lord, protect me from my friends because I know who my enemies are.” This popular phrase demonstrates the heart of our greatest struggle as humans, which is human relationships. Our relationships cause the greatest joy, yet the greatest pain. We struggle to maintain happy, healthy, wholesome and sustained relationships. It is no wonder that Paul says in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

The context of today’s Watchword highlights this painful struggle. Even more serious is that there existed crumbling relationships among God’s people. Hear Micah, Do not trust in a friend; Do not put your confidence in a companion; Guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom. For son dishonors father, Daughter rises against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A man’s enemies are the men of his own household. Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me.” (vs 5-7)

Because of their rampant sin and selfishness, personal relationships had decayed among God’s people. One could not trust a friend nor put confidence in a companion. Even blood relatives were at war with each other. What a painful reality for Micah! Yet, this reality is ours today. When we reflect on what’s happening in our homes, schools, communities, nation, and world, our reality is one of hardcore, hostile, antagonistic relationships. The church is no exception. We too are callous, crude and cruel to each other.   

It is in this unfortunate context that Micah says, “I will look to the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” In his sin-immersed culture, there were only few people he could turn to. But he knew assuredly that he could confidently look to the Lord and wait for him to act. He knew God would hear him and come to his aid. It is no wonder that in the following verse he declared, “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.” (vs 8) God used the opportunity to drive Micah close to him. If we are wise, we will learn the lesson and draw close to the Lord.

Today’s New Testament text provides a solution – “Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5) We must not give up hope in the midst of crumbling relationships. Instead, we should open our hearts to receive God’s love that he desires to pour into us, so that we can demonstrate his love to all whom we interact with. With this love, God also offers his Holy Spirit to indwell us so we can do good and live right with others. God’s Holy Spirit, together with his love, enables us to love, forgive, share, support and be there for each other.

Till next week, let’s pour out some love, irrespective of who or what.

Jermaine Gibson

TUESDAY REFLECTION – Cry Out! God Hears.

Tuesday Reflection – July 23, 2019
Cry Out! God Hears.

Psalm 120 to 134 are known as the Psalms or songs of Ascent. They were chanted as pilgrims traveled to Jerusalem for worship, as worshipers climbed Mt Zion, or climbed the steps of the temple. Today’s watchword comes from one of these Psalms. Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Psalm 130: 1 – 2. Imagine with me, the worshipers going up, looking up to Jerusalem and chanting ‘out of the depth I cry to you O Lord. Lord hear my voice’. They were confident that God would hear their cries.

Their cry came from physical depths and was for God to strengthen them to make it to the place of worship. Their cry was for safety on the journey and for God to provide all they needed for a successful and meaningful trip. When we need sustenance and strength for life’s journeys, we should not be afraid to call unto God who hears and will give us what we need. The act of ascension also served to keep the worshipers humble as they had to go up to meet God where he was. It was a constant reminder that humanity must meet God in humility for God hears the prayers of the humble, encourages and listens to them. Psalm 10: 17.

Not only was the worshippers cry coming from a physical depth, but also from an emotional depth. They cried from the depth of brokenness. Broken homes, broken relationships, broken hearts, deep health issues, from the depth of poverty and need. Joseph Scriven penned the words ‘What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer’. Dear friend it does not matter what our experience is, we serve a God who hears our cries. In faith let us bring our emotional needs to the one who can truly make a difference. Be assured that your prayer has the ability to reach the height of heaven from the humility of our personal situations. Remember Jeremiah prayed from the pit and was rescued miraculously. Remember Daniel prayed from within a den of hungry lions and God shut the mouth of the lions. Remember Jonah prayed from the belly of the great fish and God preserved him and caused the fish to vomit Jonah out on dry land. Remember Paul and Silas in prison and as they prayed an earthquake opened the prison doors and the heart of their jailor. I want someone to know today that it does not matter what your circumstance is, God is able, and God is hearing your cry. When we cry out to God from the depth, from the pit of our human experiences and existence, God hears and responds to our prayer. Our crying unto God lifts us up from the sinking sand of this sinful world. Be relentless in your praying dear friend for in God’s timing you will receive what is needed.Finally friends, as the worshipers journeyed up to worship, they cried from a spiritual depth. Aware of their sinfulness, aware of their own shortcomings, they approached their only source of salvation. As God heard their cries, they received through worship and through sacrifice, the assurance of their sins forgiven their debt pardoned and their being reconciled to God. God does the same for us when we call out to Him in prayer. When we cry out, God hears. We need to remember that God is willing to intervene in our physical and emotional challenges, but God’s goal is to save us from spiritual death and eternal damnation. It was for this reason that God sent his Son into the world. Psalm 40: 1 – 2 is the victory shout of one whose prayer was answered. ‘I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.’ Friends, may this be your testimony as well, as you cry out to God and God responds. Keep praying brother, keep praying sister, your breakthrough is coming. Amen.

Bevon White

MONDAY REFLECTION – Perfect, Permanent Peace


Monday Reflection – July 22, 2019

Perfect, Permanent Peace

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Isaiah 26:3

Perfect, permanent peace! What a promise in today’s Watchword! God promises that we can have perfect peace, and even be kept in a place of perfect peace. In Hebrew, the term perfect peace is actually ‘shalom shalom’. Such repetition communicates intensity. It isn’t just shalom; it is shalom shalom, perfect peace. I agree with Meyer who says that it is our privilege to live inside the double doors of God’s loving care. God says to us, ‘Peace, peace.’ If one assurance is not enough, he will follow it with a second and a third.

Such perfect and permanent peace is offered to all God’s children. Yet, for some of us, we have peace, but it is fleeting; it is not permanent. Still for some, they have a false permanent peace. Such peace is not perfect; it is the peace of the wicked, the peace of spiritual sleep and ultimate destruction. But, there is a perfect peace that comes from the Lord, who alone can keep us in it.

The text is clear in declaring that this perfect, permanent peace is for those whose minds are stayed on God. This is the place of perfect peace, and the source of it. When we keep our minds settled upon, established upon, the Lord, then we can be kept in this perfect peace. This is a matter of the mind. Scripture is replete with references to the importance of our minds. Indeed, we are to love the Lord our God with all of our mind (Matthew 22:37). We are transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). We can have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We are not to set our mind on earthly things (Philippians 3:19), but to set our mind on things above (Colossians 3:2). The Christian life is not an unthinking life. Where we set our mind is essential to our walk with the Lord. Many persons desire to worship God only with their emotions and so they want a worship service that appeals only to their emotions. Their minds are on vacations at church. Yet, all throughout God’s word, we are required to think and reason so as to make godly decisions.

To be kept in God’s perfect peace, our mind must be stayed. The Hebrew word ‘sawmak’ comes from the root “to prop,” and has the idea of to lean upon or take hold of, to bear up, establish, uphold, stand fast, and sustain. Therefore, we must ask, what sustains our minds? What occupies our minds? To have this perfect permanent peace, our minds cannot occasionally be on the Lord, it has to be stayed on him. If our minds are stayed on ourselves, or our problems, or the problem people in our lives, or on anything else, we cannot have this perfect peace. Remember that Satan strives to dominate our minds and get our minds on anything except the Lord. We must take control of our minds and allow God to occupy permanent place.

The text also speaks to trust. Almost always, we keep our minds stayed on whatever or whoever we trust. When we trust the Lord, we keep our mind stayed on Him. The battle for trust in our lives begins in our minds. If we trust the Lord, it will show in our actions. Perfect permanent peace is possible, but only when our minds are stayed on God and our complete trust is in him.

Jermaine Gibson

SATURDAY REFLECTION

Saturday Reflection – 20 July 2019

God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Christ, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.  Colossians 1:19-20

God’s love for us, was as Paul declared was demonstrated in the fact that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus Christ left all the splendor of heaven, making earth his home, taking on flesh and blood and the cross his final destiny. By his blood, we have redemption, by his reign, we have peace and there is justice and we are called his children.

Today’s doctrinal text reminds us of the immense love of God- that is far beyond our understanding. For who could imagine that he would give his only Son- the perfect lamb of God as a sacrifice for our sins- to pay the debt that we incurred- to be of worth for our worthlessness. Isaiah says that “There is none righteous, no, not one.” “For all we like sheep have gone astray” but God out of love for us, his creation – who despite our worthlessness, our rebellion- through Christ offered us salvation – the perfect gift the bridged the gap with us again, to the Father.

So Christ took on humanity and walked among us, and taught us. As the scripture says he was tempted in all ways like we are, yet he did not sin. So he became the perfect example and the precious lamb, laying down his life at Calvary. By his death, we are saved from sin and by his resurrection we have new life. He was the perfect sacrifice that covered every sacrifice and offering that was reconcile for sins. According to Hebrews 9:12 “…he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.” No longer are we slaves to sin, but having accepted the gift of God, be become his children, now not only his by creation but also by redemption.

So how then do we respond this act of love, how then do we accept the gift of salvation that was paid for us as Christ laid down his life. We must accept the Lord Jesus as our personal Lord and Saviour, invite him to come into our hearts and and cleanse us by his shed blood. It was God who first loved us and invited us into a relationship with him. We respond in accordance to his call, and give him our all and he becomes our all-in-all.

Until next week, the veil has been torn on two, we have access through our Lord Jesus Christ. Here we now stand washed in the blood of the Lamb. The moment Christ declared “It is finished“meant that salvation’s plan was accomplished and we have been redeemed! Hallelujah!

Let us then accept the gift, live in the promise and lead others to the cross until his kingdom come. Amen.

Dominic J. Blair

FRIDAY REFLECTION – Faith in the face of persecution

Friday Reflection
 July 19, 2019

Faith in the face of persecution

You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 1:6 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/1th.1.6.NIV

Good morning friends!
Grace and peace to you from God our Father. I trust this day finds you well. If you are not well I hope the word for today will lift your spirits. 

Background: 
Paul was writing to the Thessalonians giving thanks for thier faith in times of persecution and affliction. As is customary, he greeted  them with Grace and peace! 
Note also that the word “imitator” is translated “follower”

Application:
Today’s society is full of animosity. Believers are not excepted from all the negativity that is at play in world today. However , we are called to follow Christ, continue in the gospel of salvation, and be joyful in the Holy spirit in spite of persecution. 

The Thessalonians stood their ground and became followers of Christ even though they where well aware of the great persecution and affliction Paul and the other believers have been facing. Paul encourage them by giving thanks for thier faith. In the same way, we are encouraged to continue in faith amidst persecution 

Inspiration:
To suffer with Christ is to reign with him in paradise The affiliations we face today will be of no importance tomorrow, for God is able to bring us to a place of Joy and peace in the Holy Spirit. 
Do not be downcast by those who persecute you and say all manner of evil against you 
Continue to receive and embrace the he gospel of Christ, keep the faith in the face of affliction and persecution.

Until next week, Grace be with you!
Blessings! 

Shaneka Raymore-Euphfa

THURSDAY REFLECTION – Regard God’s patience as salvation

Thursday Reflection – July 18, 2019

Regard God’s patience as salvation

“Regard the patience of the Lord as salvation.” 2 Peter 3:15

“Look how long me hear say God a come and all now him can’t come.” “From me eye deh a me knee me a hear bout Jesus a come and all now me can’t see him.” These are some of the comments made by Non-Christians and even some Christians when they hear about the second coming of Jesus. Nearly two thousand years since his death and resurrection we are still hearing that Christ coming is soon. This is what Jesus taught us in the Bible, but there are others who want us to believe otherwise. Peter points this out in his letter to the church in 2 Peter 3.

Peter says in verse 3-4, “In the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”” Just like Peter we too are in the last days as there are those who say that Jesus will not return. Thankfully, majority of Christians have dispelled this belief or have we?

I wonder how many of us actually believe that Christ will return doing our lifetime. I know what you’re saying, “No man or woman knows the hour or time that the Son of God will return. Not even Jesus himself.” Let me be clear “I’m NOT saying Jesus is coming today, tomorrow, in our life time or even after our life time.” What I am saying is what Peter said in verse 10, “The day of the Lord will come like a thief…” that is the day of the Christ’s return will come unexpectedly. Are we living each day as if Jesus will come today or are we living like Christ will come after our time on earth?

Are our actions showing that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength? Are we loving our neighbors as we should?  Or is it that we are distracted by those who say otherwise? If you’re answer is in the negative, then hear the Good News of Jesus, “Regard the patience of God as salvation.” Verse 9 of this chapter explains it quite well. “The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” God is not slow in keeping his promise, but He is patient and this patience is so that those who are not right with the Lord can do so before it is too late. God wants to ensure as many people as possible is saved. Regard the patience of the Lord as an opportunity to be saved.

Christ is coming back. There is no doubt in my mind and the mind of many believers. Ensure you draw closer to God during this time of waiting and if there is anything that doesn’t not belong ask God to help get rid of it.

Until next week be Christ-like in all that you do.

Christopher Euphfa 

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – Appropriate Approach to God

Wednesday Reflection – July 17, 2019

Appropriate Approach to God

The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him. Daniel 9:14

Today’s Watchword is located in the context of Daniel’s prayer to God. He begins his prayer where we all should – ‘O Lord, great and awesome God’. He recognized the greatness and goodness of God. Sometimes we approach God as if he were a stingy person who must be persuaded to give us anything. For Daniel, God is all-sufficient and keeps his covenant and mercy with those who love him. We can sense the earnestness in Daniel’s prayer from the get go, yet it is also agonizing. It was Spurgeon who said “Oh! That our prayers could get beyond praying, till they got to agonizing.”

This was a deep prayer of confession as Daniel declared that, ‘We have sinned and committed iniquity’. Notice that he used the personal pronoun ‘we’ and not ‘they’. He included himself as if to demonstrate the personal yet collective sins of the people. When we think about it long enough, we will realize that ‘they’ prayers never really reach God, but genuine ‘we’ prayers see ourselves correctly and see our fellow saints with compassion. Daniel was clear in declaring that  

Israel’s sin was not God’s fault; God was utterly righteous and blameless. Any shame of face belonged to Israel, not to God.

When we consider the poor attitude of the Israelites, it would be easy for Daniel to complain to God about Israel’s problems. However, Daniel didn’t think for a moment that God was too hard on Israel; he knew God was completely righteous and any failure was on Israel’s side. So instead of complaining, Daniel confessed. During times of great revival among God’s people, the Holy Spirit always brings a deep conviction and awareness of sin. When that is responded to rightly, confession is appropriately made. When such confession is genuine, it is sincere, specific, and thorough.

We have the tendency to make excuses for our wrongdoings. We learn a lesson from Daniel in this text that there can be no valid excuse for our sins. We can’t blame anyone else and we certainly cannot blame God. Daniel highlighted that even in his judgment against Israel, God was totally faithful to his word. Indeed, he is righteous in everything he does.

Till next week, hear the words of today’s New Testament text in James 1:17: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.’

Jermaine Gibson