FRIDAY REFLECTION – God is waiting on you!

Friday Reflection
August 30, 2019

God is waiting on you!

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/2pe.3.9.NIV

Dear friends,
Today’s reflection is one that caused me to go into deep thought. I have read and heard this verse many times but before today, I didn’t notice the word instead. 

The text:
Hear Peter speaking to those who believe Jesus was taking too long to return or that he may not return at all. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance

The Application:
Just as it was then so it is now.. people have their doubts about Jesus’s return. 
Like Peter, I want to remind us that the return of our savior is inevitable 
I also want to remind you today, that God’s timing is nothing like ours. A thousand years to us is like a day to him. It means then, that what we may deem the slow return is really God being patient with us. It is God waiting on us to come to a readiness for his return! (REPENTANCE)

ARE YOU READY FOR HIS RETURN?  My prayer is that we’ll all be ready. I am sure though, that some persons may say, no I am not ready, but I am working on getting ready. Why then do we press the issue of his return????
God is waiting on you to get your house in order! The effort we put into debating his return, should go towards repentance

God is not slack in keeping his promises. Jesus will return! . Being the loving God he is, he is giving us time to come to a place of readiness through repentance. Slowness as we understand it is not what’s happening, what is happening is that God is exercising patience with mankind
 The next time you or someone you know makes a fuss about the return of our Lord, remind yourselves, God is not slack concerning his promises, instead he is being patient, it is not his will for any to perish, but  that all might come to REPENTANCE

Until next week, God is waiting on you, get your house in order

Blessings
Shaneka Raymore-Euphfa

THURSDAY REFLECTION – The knowledge of God leads to love

Thursday Reflection – August 29, 2019

The knowledge of God leads to love

Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him. 1 Corinthians 8:2‭-‬3 NRSV.

Human knowledge is full of pride, but the knowledge of God is governed by love. In today’s doctrinal text, Paul speaks to the church in Corinth on the matter of food offered to idols. Those with knowledge know that idols are not real and God is the provider of everything; therefore nothing is wrong with eating food once sacrificed to idols. However, not everyone possess this knowledge and such action can lead other believers astray. So Paul concludes that, “if eating meat sacrificed to idols will cause believers around him to sin, then it is better not to eat meat sacrificed to idols”.
As I examine this text there are a couple of points that stand out for me.

  1. Human knowledge can lead to pride.
    What do we do with the knowledge that we have? Paul, with his knowledge, understood that the eating of meat sacrificed to idols did not make him unclean. But he also knew that not everyone was able to grasp this knowledge. How did Paul react? Paul stated, “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” How many of us would react in that manner with the knowledge that we have? The New International Version interprets verse one in the following manner, “Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.”
    The truth is that those with knowledge tend to think they know more and behave as such. When others are not able to meet their level of intellect or knowledge they tend to regard others as lower beings. In the process of regarding others as such those with knowledge become puff up and full of pride. A dangerous combination that does not reflect Jesus Christ.
  2. We’re guided by God’s love
    The action of Paul not to eat meat if it lead others to sin is guided by love. Human knowledge cannot comprehend this action, because this action is not of human or this world. The ability to truly characterize love comes only from God. That is why Paul says, “but anyone who loves God is known by him.” Anyone who truly loves God will do the things of God and treat people as how God would treat them. Those who seek God and love God will be able to love others as God does. They will be able to put the need of others ahead of theirs, especially concerning non-essential matters.
    We are guided by the actions of God through his son Jesus; we are guided by love.Such a powerful tool and agent of change. I invite us to read 1 Corinthians 13 and reflect on how we can truly demonstrate love.
    We sometimes become so caught up in the behaviour of this world that we forget to show love. We become so caught up with what we don’t have forgetting that we can still show love with what we have.
    We become so caught up with positions and titles that we forget that our birth certificates only carry our names. We could have all the knowledge in the world, but if we do not have love then it is meaningless, null and void. Only our relationship with God and people matters in the end.

Until next week allow the knowledge of God’s love to guide your every step.
Blessings!

Christopher Euphfa

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – The Adequate God

Wednesday Reflection – August 28, 2019

The Adequate God
Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” God said, “I will be with you.” Exodus 3:11-12

Isn’t it amazing what God has done and continues to do? On a personal note, when I reflect on my own life and consider all that God has done in, for and with me, it is truly amazing, sometimes even mind boggling. Honestly, it is hard to hold back the tears when I recall all that God has done; it is a deeply humbling experience. In the midst of our host of inadequacies and limitations, God demonstrates his adequacy and omnipotence.

As God summons Moses to head to Egypt to deliver God’s people from bondage, Moses lists a myriad of reasons why he is not suited for the job. “Who am I?” reflects Moses’ understanding of his limitations and the magnitude of the task God was calling him to. Yes, he was raised in the palace, but that was long ago. He killed an Egyptian and fled for his life. He has been living anonymously in a foreign land for many years. He has become a simple shepherd. How can a shepherd negotiate with Pharaoh?

Yet, Moses’ response indicates not just his feeling of inadequacy, but for him, God couldn’t have considered him. God got it terribly wrong this time. Moses’ history was still haunting him. He recalls his earlier attempt to help the Israelites, but that resulted in the death of an Egyptian. This ultimately led to Pharaoh seeking to kill him. So how could God be sending him to his enemy? It is clear that God recognizes the inadequacies of Moses, but was teaching him to not depend on himself. Moses is being taught to depend on God. Additionally, God is leading Moses to face his past and allow God to guide him.

Moses raises five objections why he should not accept God’s invitation to go to Egypt. His final plea will be simply, “O Lord, please send someone else” (4:13). God responds by declaring, “I will be with you”.  It doesn’t really matter who Moses is, because Yahweh will enable Moses to work by his power. Yahweh will be there with Moses, and will not let him fail. Additionally, God offers his divine name, “I AM WHO I AM” (3:14). Perhaps a better translation is “I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE.” I believe that this was meant not just for the people who would ask Moses who sent him. It was meant for Moses- the I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE God would be with him every step of the way. What more could Moses ask for?

The Bible is replete with persons who felt they were not able or adequate enough to fulfill God’s call on their lives. We could add many more names including Jermaine Gibson. The truth is we are never adequate by ourselves to do God’s work. Anytime we feel adequate, we have to check our level of arrogance and pomposity. It is God who makes us adequate, for he is our all in all. Paul pleaded with God to remove his thorn in the flesh, but God pointed out that it is to keep him humble. Yet, God assured him that, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Till next week, forget about self and rely completely on our Adequate God.  

Jermaine Gibson

TUESDAY REFLECTION – Preparing For Jesus’ Return

Tuesday Reflection – August 27, 2019

Preparing For Jesus’ Return

Today’s Watchword comes from Malachi 3: 1. See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me. Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. No one is sure of the name of the prophet since Malachi actually means ‘my messenger’. He prophesied in the early part of the 5th Century BC, a time when Jerusalem including the temple, was being rebuilt by under the leadership of Nehemiah. As we look at the text, it helps to go to the previous chapter in which the prophet outlines God’s disappointment with the religious leaders and with society in general. The chapter closes with the response of the people. Where is this God of the judgement, the God we should fear, the God who will call us into judgement? The belief was that God was far removed from the affairs of humanity so there was nothing to stop them doing as they pleased. Such thinking by any society always precedes God’s judgement. 

Our text responds to the question of the people, God is about to send his messenger to prepare the way for his coming. This can be taken on three levels. Firstly, Malachi, my messenger, was proclaiming the word of God to bring Israel to repentance before God reoccupied the temple and Israel reestablished a culture of worship and sacrifice. If the people’s hearts were not fully focused on God, if they were not fully engaged in keeping the covenant, then their worship and sacrifice would be lacking. Secondly, this was a prophecy pointing to John the Baptist who would come as the forerunner to Jesus, calling people to repentance in order to be ready for the coming of the messiah. Thirdly, this is a prophecy to the church of today, God’s messengers in a sinful world, calling the people of God to steadfastness and preparation for the return of Jesus for His church. In all three cases the establishment of a Godly order meant judgement on anyone who was found not meeting the mark, that is anyone living in sin. 

The message is therefore is clear to the church of today. The return of the Lord is imminent, and the church is the messenger calling both those within and without to repentance. In Exodus we read of Moses, a man who had murdered an Egyptian and ran away. However, after his time in Midian and his penitence when He met God, God was able to use Him to free the Hebrew people and lead them to the Promised Land. No one is outside of God’s mercy. In Eph. 2: 4 – 5 Paul writes: But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. This is the message of the church and the hope for humanity. Jesus shall soon return, and we should make ourselves ready by forsaking a life led by our own devises and desires. Its not about what we want. It’s not about what makes us feel good, its about Jesus and the salvation he offers to those who believe in Him. His grace is sufficient for us. David, greatest king of Israel, was described as a man after God’s own heart. Yet he too failed. We read in 2 Samuel where he breaks almost half of the commandments. He lied, he cheated, he coveted, he murdered, he committed adultery, yet when he realized the sinfulness of his ways and cried out to God, ‘have mercy on me O God according to your loving kindness, blot out my iniquities and forgive my sins’, God heard him and forgave him. I could also tell you about Jonah and Peter who both repented and were forgiven. I could also tell you about Judas who rather than repent, took his own life. Makes me wonder what he heard while he listened to Jesus for three years. To those who are unrepentant, the message of Christ offers condemnation, but those with a repentant heart hears from the messenger, a message of forgiveness, of restoration and of an eternity with our Lord. The way is being prepared friends, I pray you have or will receive the message of hope. Jesus shall return. Be prepared even as you share the message of preparation with others.  Amen

Bevon White

MONDAY REFLECTION – In God’s Time

Monday Reflection – August 26, 2019

In God’s Time

Thus says the Lord, “In a time of favor I have answered you, on a day of salvation I have helped you.” Isaiah 49:8

Today’s Watchword is in the context of the second of four Servant Songs in Isaiah 42-53. The servant is God’s agent to do his work in the world. The songs are about God’s servant who will, among other things, bring justice to the nations, raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the preserved of Israel. Furthermore, God says, “I will also give you for a light to the nations, that you may be my salvation to the end of the earth” (49:6b). It is clear that the servant will exercise considerable power on Yahweh’s authority.

In today’s text, Yahweh promises to bring his children home. This is intended to encourage the exiles who are having trouble believing that Yahweh will soon free them from their exile and lead them back to their homeland. God is about to liberate them. Yet, such will be on God’s terms and at God’s determined time. Notice that God says, ‘in a time of favor’ and ‘on a day of salvation’. Further, God promises that he will preserve them and give them as a covenant to the people. God is reminding them of the covenant he had established between them, a covenant between a superior (God) and an inferior (humans). God initiates these covenants and dictates their terms, and in every case the terms are favorable to the humans.

Thus in the context of the people’s inability to recover on their own and bring about their own future, God promises their restoration. God uses language that is akin to that of a mother to emphasize his promised care. For example, in 49:14, the people complains that God has forsaken and forgotten them. God responds in verse 15 by asking, if it is possible for the actual mother of a child to forget her child, even her nursing child, and if it is possible for the literal mother of the child to show no compassion for a child she has borne. Even if this were possible, God declares that it is not possible for him. “Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” God is faithful and this means that God’s options are limited; God will not, indeed cannot forget Israel. This is an act of divine self-limitation. In fact, God says that Israel is inscribed or tattooed on the palms of his hands. Israel has become a part of God’s identity. God is mother in a way that no earthly mother can be.

What a word of assurance for God’s people today! When we face life’s challenges, we have a mothering God who will always remember us. We are tattooed on the palms of God’s hands, never to be forgotten, but marked by him. We have a faithful God who will raise us up and cause us to thrive bountifully. Our journey may be through the wilderness, but we shall not be in want of food or water or protection. God himself will be our provider, guide and shelter. Yet God acts in his own time and day, as he bestows favour and salvation upon us.

Until next week, let’s trust God’s timing and actions.

Jermaine Gibson

FRIDAY REFLECTION – Give God glory

Friday Reflection
August 23, 2019

Give God glory 

Yours, O Lord, are the greatest, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and on Earth is yours.
1 Chronicles 29:11. 

Background:
Earlier in the chapter, David had ask leaders to contribute to the building of the temple. Each leader contributed much of their possession. The people  as well as David were happy to see how the leadership willingly gave the best of what they had to the work of the God. Just moments after the giving, David began to pray. As I read the passage I could feel the warmth of his heart and how grateful he was to God for allowing the leadership to give so willingly. 

Application:
Many times in life we see great things happen in our midst and we forget that it is God who made it possible. If it had not been for God’s provision, the leaders who have gold , iron and bronze would not have been able to do so. 
David who knew that every good thing came from God began to pray “Yours, O Lord, are the greatest, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and on earth is yours. 

In the same way, we too should declare the greatness, power and majesty of God! Everything on earth and in heaven belongs to him. When we see great things in our midst, we should give him glory! 

Encouragement:
Sometimes we get caught up in the rush of life, and we become so busy, that we forget to pray and give God our best worship 

In times of miracles, we sometimes give honor to those who God would have used for his purpose to be fulfilled and we forget that it is God who is using those who help us

ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT EVERYTHING GOOD IS FROM GOD, THE NEXT TIME YOU EXPERIENCE GOODNESS, GIVE GOD THANKS FIRST 

Blessings
Shaneka Raymore-Euphfa

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – Live Responsibly!

Wednesday Reflection – August 21, 2019

Live Responsibly!

I must bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he takes my side and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light: I shall see his vindication. Micah 7:9

Responsibility and accountability are two critical words to apply to everyone and to every sphere of life. Daily we hear the demand for accountability of political, public and private sectors, civil and religious leaders. We also hear the challenge for all to demonstrate responsibility in how we conduct ourselves at home, school, work, as we use the roads etc. Taking responsibility is an honourable thing, but also a Christ-like attribute. God is always summoning us to be responsible in all aspects of our lives.

Today’s Watchword presents the prophet Micah taking responsibility not only for himself, but for his people. He outlined the crumbling relationships that existed among God’s people. Their rampant sin and selfishness had led to the decay of personal relationships 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. He then warned his enemies not to gloat over his present distressing condition, for he will rise. In today’s text he admits that he, and by extension his people, have sinned and must bear the penalty.

We must note that Micah places himself and his people confidently in the hands of God. He is prepared to bear God’s wrath. I can hear David in 2 Samuel 24:14, “I am in great distress; let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into human hands.” It is better to be in God’s hand and under his chastisement than to be under the punishment of humans. In God’s hand, we are assured of justice and fair treatment. Humans tend to forget that we are all sinners and we crucify others by our actions and especially with our tongue.  

Micah accepts the punishment for his sins. When we fail to accept God’s punishment and murmur against God, we do not truly acknowledge our guilt and we act irresponsibly. God’s people pled guilty before God; but, in respect of their enemies, they were innocent and undeserving of the pain brought on by them. The people were guilty of idolatry, ingratitude towards God, injustice, unfaithfulness, and unmerciful against one another. These sins deserved serious punishment. The people humbled themselves and were willing to bearpatiently and submissively the indignation of the Lord; the just and chastising measures of the Lord and its consequences. 

Such a powerful lesson for us today! We ought to be quick to acknowledge our wrongs, repent of them, and be ready to receive God’s punishment. Yet, such punishment is mixed with mercy, for we cannot bear the full brunt of God’s wrath against our sinful actions.

Till next week, let’s strive to live responsibly, and when we fail let’s acknowledge same and seek God’s forgiveness.

Jermaine Gibson

TUESDAY REFLECTION – Knowing God

Tuesday Reflection – August 20, 2019

Knowing God

We all have friends that we really have never taken the time to get to know. It could be someone at work, church or even a family member. We see and speak to them often enough but never take the time to go deep in conversation, to get to know them. There are many Christians whose relationship with God is just like that. You see friends every religion has its god or gods, but what is it that sets the God of the Christian faith apart from other gods. What makes our God exclusively worthy of our worship? I know He commands us to worship only Him, I know he states that He is a jealous God, I know he sets us apart for His glory, but what makes us dedicated participants in this life of worship? I believe we never truly begin to be in relationship with God until we know God. Today’s watchword is a reminder of who Jesus revealed God to be. He is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9: 6. 

This is a well-known verse from an equally known passage prophesying the coming of the Messiah. It stands in contrast to the prophesies of doom by Isaiah, brought on by Israel’s disobedience, arrogance and disregard for God. It is a reminder to us that God offers hope even in our most dire circumstances. Our ability to hold to this hope depends on how much we know God. We cannot know God until we become intimate with God. This comes through our physical, emotional and spiritual closeness to God. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8). Intimacy with God requires purity. God will not despise a clean hand and a pure heart. Indeed Hebrews 7: 19 explains that Christ is the hope through which we are able to attain this intimacy with God. It behooves us therefore to know Christ. Isaiah describes Him as the Wonderful Counselor. The word translated wonderful is better understood as meaning ‘beyond comprehension or mind boggling’. Counselor was used in ancient Israel to describe a wise king after the likeness of Solomon. Christ is a wise king whose counsel is greater than what any human could give. If we do not have an intimate relationship with Him, we cannot know or experience that level of counsel. 

Jesus is also the Mighty God, the El Gibbor. El, the shortened form of Elohim, speaks of the one true God and Gibbor means strength, power or hero. The one who stated in John 8:58 ‘before Abraham was, I am’, the one who walked on water, the one who healed the sick, the one who raised the dead, the one who rose from the dead is indeed our Mighty God and is the one who seeks intimacy with us. As Everlasting Father, Jesus is the Father of all eternity. John 1: 1 – 3 explains this. In the beginning was the Word and the word was with God and the word was God. Everything was made through and by Him. When we know and trust the creator of all things, what will he not do for us? As Prince of Peace Jesus offers to those who love and trust Him a peace that the world may not know or understand. In John 14: 27 he says: ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.’In a world driven by fear, those who know Christ can experience the peace of being in renewed relationship with God.  When we know Jesus, We can trust Christ to listen and offer guidance as our Wonderful Counselor, we can trust Him to take care of us as our Mighty God, we can live by His grace as our Everlasting Father, and we can be at peace in the midst of the turmoil of life, for Jesus is our peace. There are many who can testify to the truth of this today because of their experience. Get to know Jesus friends, and you too can have that intimacy. Introduce or encourage someone in Christ today so that they too can experience God as we have.  Amen    

Bevon White

MONDAY REFLECTION – Rejoice, Daughter of Zion!!!

Monday Reflection – August 19, 2019

Rejoice, Daughter of Zion!!!

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey. Zechariah 9:9

Today’s Watchword summons God’s people to celebrate and rejoice for what is on the horizon. This is a theme in this book. The people are described as “Daughter of Zion” and “Daughter of Jerusalem”, which are terms of endearment, and serve as a means of inviting the people to recognize their priviledged identity in God. Interestingly and even ironically, this call to celebrate is in the context of the Israelites who had spent seventy years of servitude in exile, followed by a return to Jerusalem that has been difficult and disappointing. So, what is the cause for rejoicing? Their king will come to them with righteousness and salvation. The prophet also assures the people of Yahweh’s forgiveness and his presence among them.

This king in question here is the messianic king. Both Matthew 21:5 and John 12:15 quote Zechariah 9:9 in connection with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Their king will be righteous and victorious. They can depend on him to do the right thing and to save the people. Another point of interest is this king will come riding on a donkey. It was quite common for people to ride donkeys, but a warrior would usually ride a horse. To have the messianic-king come riding a donkey is a sign of peaceful intentions. He doesn’t ride the triumphant stallion of a conquering general, but the customary mount for royalty, coming in peace.

Inherent in this text are at least two thoughts for us to reflect:

  1. The Message of Hope – The people were distressed and anxious about the future. They were seeking to find ways to recover and make life. The prophet Zechariah declares a word from the Lord that their King is coming. We face episodes in our lives that cause stress and distress, with great uncertainty about what’s ahead. The text offers to us God’s assurance that salvation and victory is certain for his people. And because God is our trusted deliverer, we can rejoice and shout for joy; praising God in advance.
  1. The Call to Humility – The King will come riding on a donkey, a sign of humility. God’s continued call to his people is to demonstrate a life of humility. He often used the exilic experiences to humble his people. When the messianic-king came, he modeled a life of humility and called on all to humble themselves. Jesus declares in Matthew 23:12, All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” Such humility should not be faked, but genuine. Spurgeon says, It is astonishing how much of pride there is in the most modest…we must pray God to make us humble.”

Until next week, let’s rejoice and shout for joy in anticipation of God’s action among us. Let’s receive the message of hope and demonstrate humility.

Jermaine Gibson

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – Learning the Lessons of Life

Wednesday Reflection – August 14, 2019

Learning the Lessons of Life

I said, “Surely the citywill fear me, it will accept correction; it will not lose sightof all that I have brought upon it.” But they were the more eager to make all their deeds corrupt. Zephaniah 3:7

It is such an important task for us to learn the lessons of life that are afforded to us every day. I struck me just now that there may be so many lessons that I have missed in my every day experiences…Lord, forgive me. Every experience, whether we have had it or another person that we know of, every person we meet, every conversation we have, absolutely everything, everyday are all here to teach us lifelong lessons.

The book of Zephaniah consists of God’s warning of coming destruction. God declared judgement against Judah, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Cush and Assyria. God then turns his attention to Jerusalem, his own people. He describes them as being rebellious, defiled, disobedient, arrogant and shameless. They fail to trust in God and is in a long distant relationship with God. The state leaders are vile and cunning, while the religious leaders are arrogant, treacherous, and lack compliance with the law. In the context of this shameful behaviour of the people, God remains present, righteous, just and upright.

In today’s Watchword, God expressed disappointment at the behaviour and conduct of his people. He expected his people to fear him, accept correction and always remember all that he has done for them. However, the people became more corrupt, and of course ungrateful. One would have thought that in the very presence of God destroying others, but as yet sparing them, they would have learnt to fear God, to stand in awe of God for his judgments on others; that they would be in fear of God for his loving longsuffering towards them. Surely one might have expected that under such circumstances they would have repented and received correction, but no! They continued in their old way of living contrary to the will of God.

God’s judgement on others should have served as a lesson for his people, but they missed the lesson and received their own judgment. God was ready to exercise mercy, but only if the people repented. This text holds in proper balance the justice and mercy of God. We should always remember that we serve a God of justice, yet a God of mercy. In the midst of God’s justice is his mercy, and in his mercy is his justice. Our response to God is to acknowledge our sins and sincerely repent of them; to commit to seek first God’s Kingdom and pursue always the things that honour God. We ought always to strive to learn the lessons God is always teaching every day.  

Jermaine Gibson