MONDAY REFLECTION – Tossings and Tears

Monday Reflection – September 30, 2019

Tossings and Tears

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your record? Psalm 56:8  

Tossings and tears are part of our journey at one stage in our lives or another. If we have lived long enough, we know that we experienced nights of toss and turns, restlessness, and even loss of sleep. Experiences in life have brought tears to our eyes and spirits as we face the ups and downs, the hills and valleys, the highpoints and low points of this journey. We have both tears of joy and those of sorrow. The loss of a loved one – whether by death, divorce or separation -, failures, anguish, fear, pain, hardships, trials, tribulations, stress and strains all threaten our happiness and joy and many times bring tossings and tears.   

David can identify with us, for he had his fair share of tossings and tears. He faced lions, bears and Goliath with courage and strength. Indeed, he had a good heart, for he was described as a man after God’s own heart. He was anointed the next king of Israel, yet what was to be a time of celebration for him, became his greatest nightmare. The reigning king Saul hunted him down to kill him. Today’s text is said to be a description of David’s appeal to God as he headed to the cave in Adullam to hide for his life. No doubt, he was alone, desperate and afraid.

Here he reasons with and even challenges God. He draws to God’s attention that God knows fully well the level and number of tossings that he has had. Indeed, God should bottle up his tears to see how much he has shed. All his hurt and pain should be recorded by God. It is as if he was saying to God that he has been through so much and his pain is so deep that it’s time God relieves him of all of this. Yet, in all this we see David valuing the sympathy and care of God all the more, and he found great comfort in the thought that God noted his misery.

David speaks about bottling his tears. For Spurgeon, “His sorrows were so many that there would need a great wine–skin to hold them all.” Yet, there may be an allusion to a very ancient custom among Greeks and Romans of putting the tears which were shed for the death of any person into small phials and offering them on the tomb of the deceased. Thereare some persons who always have their tear-bottle with them, and who always treasure up every little grief and every little disappointment. Whenever you meet them, the first thing you see is the tear-bottle; and there is more in it than there was last time. Note that I am not speaking of those who have great trials and must shed tears, but of those who make a great deal of every little thing. We ought not to live in this gloomy way. In the midst of David’s trial, he affirms his confidence in God and declares in verse 9, “This I know, because God is for me”. His tossings and tears do not mean that God was against him. Instead he knew that God was for him, and would answer his prayer for rescue.

What of your tossings and tears? Surrender it all to God and rise in resolute confidence to face whatever life brings our way. Indeed, tears are a language God understands.
Jermaine Gibson

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – Justice and only Justice!

Wednesday Reflection – September 25, 2019

Justice and only Justice!

Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, so that you may live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 16:20

As I read this verse, I recall that I did a reflection very recently on a text in the context of today’s Watchword. At a quick review, I recognized that it was only on September 11 that I reflected on Deuteronomy 16:19. Moses continues his teaching to the Israelites as they were on the brink of entering Canaan. Judges and officials were to be appointed for each tribe in every town. I believe that these judges were to be put in place for every tribe so they could adequately relate to each other in the administration of justice. I think too that the judges and officials were to be in every town so they would be readily available and accessible to deal with the judicial affairs.

Yet, the reality of the judges being appointed for every tribe and town posed obvious challenges. Two major challenges were their immediate access to people, including those of their own tribe, who may want to pervert the court of justice by offering bribes, and the temptation to show partiality to those of their own tribe. It is no wonder then that Moses emphasizes in today’s Watchword, Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, so that you may live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”     

Today’s text helps us to understand how to live in response to God’s love and serve others through our work. Underlying all the themes in Deuteronomy is Israel’s covenant with the one true God. Everything in the book flows from the keystone of the covenant, “I am the Lord your God…you shall have no other gods before me”. When people worship the Lord alone, good governance, productive work, ethical commerce, civic good, and fair treatment for all will generally result. When people put other motivations, values, and concerns ahead of the principles of God, life and work are under threat and usually results in unnecessary grief. Moses’ charge to judges and officials is especially important when it comes to work. Without impartial justice, it would be impossible to “live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you”.

Modern workplaces and societies are no less susceptible to bribery, corruption, and bias than Israel was. International bodies believe that the greatest impediment to economic growth in less developed countries is lapses in the impartial rule of law. Interestingly, the emphasis of this command is on those who have the power to demand bribes and not against those who pay. Many times those who pay bribes are at the mercy of those who have the power to determine our fate and future. Yet, both those who receive and those who pay are charged to desist, because justice is sacred to the Lord.

As we go about our daily lives, may we be careful to honour God through our words and actions, by ensuring that we promote justice and fairness. The words of Jamaica’s National Anthem rings out, “Justice, truth, be ours forever…”  

Jermaine Gibson

TUESDAY REFLECTION – The Heart Knows

Tuesday Reflection – September 24, 2019

The Heart Knows

Ever heard the statement, ‘the heart knows’? The full phrase is, ‘the mind reasons, but the heart just knows’. We reason and rationalize from the mind. For many persons that is the seat of decision making. If we cannot reason it through, seeing all the progress and pitfalls, we will not venture out. The mind cautions us to be safe in all that we do. It is there that we think, argue and reason. If we follow our minds, we will not take chances. It is purely logic that the mind engages in, keeping us grounded and giving us sanity in a rather insane world. The heart on the other hand is more about feelings than logic. It is described as the wisest part of the human body. The heart is the seat of misery, intuition, adrenaline, and strength. It is the heart that gives meaning to what we do, even when we think that our words or actions are meaningless. It’s important for us to listen to both heart and mind in order to be a well-rounded person. 

In today’s Watchword the Lord speaks through the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 24: 7.  I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord. This promise of God was for the children of Israel in captivity. It was God’s assurance that a people, disobedient and taken away from their homeland, would still find favor with their God. Yes they would face hardships, yes they would feel abandoned, yes they would be mocked and jeered to the point of feeling neglected and despondent, but they were to know that all hope would not be lost for God would reveal himself to them in the depths of their hearts. This is exactly what happened friends. For that reason Daniel refused to stop worshipping, for that reason Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow, for that reason Esther stepped forward and for that reason the Jews, when finally given permission, chose to leave Babylon behind and return to Israel. When we have a knowledge of God in our hearts, it propels us along a faith journey that goes beyond any intellectual understanding or reasoning. This is the journey we are on as Christians. Not one of proof, or of sound rationale, but one of faith, a faith born out of a knowledge of God in our hearts. 

In a world that constantly demands proof, that seeks to reason and rationalize everything, this is outright crazy, but to us who know the joys, blessings and pleasures of walking with our Lord, it is a matter of knowing that nothing that reason comes up with can move us to abandon what God has placed in our hearts. If our senses, reasoning and fears are the only guides we have to look back on in life, then we have not truly lived. When the heart knows God and we follow our heart, we follow God’s leading. When the heart knows God we have the assurance that even when we can’t seem to reason it through, even when we can’t seem to make sense of it, our godly heart guides us. Gal 4: 6  for God has sent the Spirit of His son into our hearts crying Abba! Father! We should not neglect the reasoning and rationalizing of the mind, but when the heart has received the revelation of the knowledge of Christ, we can sincerely trust the leading of the heart, for the heart knows. Amen.   

Bevon White 

MONDAY REFLECTION – The God Who Humbles and Lifts Up

Monday Reflection – September 23, 2019

The God Who Humbles and Lifts Up

The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength. 1 Samuel 2:4

What do we do when we face life’s crises? When our world has turned upside down and everything is falling apart? When pain, anguish and sorrow is our everyday experience? When we are confused and everything seems so complicated? When hope is fading and we feel that God has failed us? When our hearts desires are not being fulfilled? When life is not going the way we have planned or dreamed about? When people laugh at us and we have become the center of gossip and street side talk? For some of us, we turn to the Lord in fervent prayer. And sometimes in this time we make promises to God that if he comes through for us, we commit to do certain things.

This was the case for Hannah who carried deep pain because she was barren. She was the laughingstock of her husband’s other wife, her rival, Peninnah. Her deepest desire, like that of every Jewish woman, was to have a male child. She placed the matter squarely before the Lord and promised to give her son back to the Lord. God answered her prayer by giving her a son. Hannah fulfilled her promise by bringing him back to the temple, dedicated him to the Lord, and left him there in the care of Eli the priest.

Amazingly, having left her son in the temple, Hannah offers a prayer of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord. In chapter 2, she begins by declaring, “My heart rejoices in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides you, nor is there any rock like our God.” (vs 1-2) Hannah offers this song on the very day she left her little boy – her only child – at the temple, never for him to live in her home again. This shows a depth of commitment and love for God that may humble us. On the day she made the biggest sacrifice of her life she rejoices in the Lord. We note she could not rejoice in leaving her son, but she could rejoice in the Lord. In the most desperate situations, when we have nothing else to rejoice in, we can rejoice in the Lord.

In today’s Watchword, Hannah glorifies God who humbles the strong and exalts the weak. God breaks the bow of the mighty and gives strength to the feeble. This is such a serious warning to us that we should be humble before God because he has the power to humble the strong. If we are strong or exalted now, we should keep humble because the Lord can change our place in the twinkling of an eye. Yet, a word of hope that if we are weak or in a low place now we should wait humbly before God and let him lift us up.

Till next week, let’s not forget to lift a song of praise in the good and bad times, and remain humble before the Lord.

Jermaine Gibson

SATURDAY REFLECTION

Saturday Reflection- 21 September 2019

“Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again;”                        Genesis 46:3,4

Have you ever needed to make a great new move? A new assignment or school, a new workplace or you had to move to a new community, parish or country. It may not be a move in terms of residence or workplace, but a change out of the familiar to the unfamiliar. 

If this is true, we find ourselves standing like Jacob in Genesis 46 as he was to move his entire family to Egypt. Jacob’s son Joseph had become prominent in Egypt and after he revealed himself to his brothers and instructs them to inform their family that he was contrary to former belief, very much alive and doing well in Egypt. And since there was a famine in their homeland, Joseph invites them to join him in Egypt.

So God reminds Jacob of who he is, the God of your father, and would cause him to recall the many times that God had been there for him, for his family. The same is true, that God is still God, the one who never changes and he reminds us of the many times we’ve come at the impasse and God “parted the Red Sea” for us. He reminds us of the many times, that he has led us, our families and blessed us and promises that he’s the same God and will do it again. So God comforted Jacob and said “do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there.” For surely where God is comforting us, in the same way, he will be with us and will bless us. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, which represents the mighty nation, God’s chosen people, of the promise that had been made to his grandfather Abraham. So we know that God is a keeper of promises.

God encourages Jacob in the same way he encourages us, we do not have to be afraid. Because walking before us and with us is our great Jehovah. He clears the path and leads us to the promised land. We need not fear, the journey, the challenges of uncooperative people, red flags, hurdles on top of hurdles, because we serve a God who parted the Red Sea, and made the walls of Jericho come tumbling down. 

We can rest assured that God sees our insecurities and will employ his never-failing promise, unmatched comfort and strength and his ever-guiding presence. Jacob did not know everything about Egypt, and was concerned of his old age and the journey and what it would mean for his future generations. We may not only also be fearful, but concerned as Jacob was, of the journey, and the future of his family, but God had thought about this as well, and we are assured that he has everything in control and all we have to do is to trust him. And when we do, he will bless us abundantly, even as Jacob as he promises to make from him, a great nation. We listen to his call, and according to today’s doctrinal text  “… lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight the path for your feet.” (Hebrews 12:12-13)

Until next week, be comforted in the fact that if God leads us to it, he will lead us through it. So we need not fear but follow him without a murmur and he will lead us to green pastures and living waters, and even to eternal life.

Dominic J. Blair 

THURSDAY REFLECTION – God goes before you

Thursday Reflection – September 19, 2019

God goes before you

“The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and a pillar of fire by night, to give them light. Exodus 13:21

What does it mean to have God go before you? The children of Israel were now free from the tyranny of Pharaoh. After moving to Egypt four hundred (400) years ago and being enslaved, the Israelites were now free to go with Moses and enter the promises of God. As they entered the wilderness they were guided by God in the form of a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night. We are told that the Lord went ahead of them.

What did this mean for the Israelites? It meant there was physical evidence of God’s presence amongst them. But it also goes deeper than that. The passage tells us that the cloud guided by day and the fire provided light at night. This is significant, because the children of Israel were on a journey they had never taken before. This was new for them. Furthermore, they were going through the wilderness; a place of barrenness. It was not built up cities were they could take shelter or hide from the elements. It was a journey of uncertainty, risks, danger and fear.

God knew all of this and therefore, reinforced his presence with a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night. How reassuring is it to know that God is leading you in the wilderness. The smoke offered them guidance. It showed them the path to take. It also signified that God already cleared the path for them to take. We know the wilderness have its own form of danger such as scorpions, wild animals, rattle snakes etc. and we know that the children were not exempt from these dangers. Despite this the dangers of the wilderness could not harm them, because they were being GUIDED BY GOD. When we are guided by God we have nothing to worry about.

Not only were they guided by God, but they were provided light at night. I can just imagine the wilderness at night. No street lights, pitch black if there isn’t a full moon, scary, and cold. God provided them with a pillar of fire to help counter the darkness. It also provided warmth for them during the cold nights. In essence in dark times God provided light. How reassuring is it to know that in the darkness of the wilderness God is before you providing light. This light helps us to see in dark times. When situations become cloudy in our lives, Jesus gives us that light that is needed to remind us of God’s presence.

We need to open our eyes to God going before us. We do not have a pillar of smoke and fire to guide and light the way, but what we have is far better. We have Jesus that gives us light and the Holy Spirit that guides us. In the dark times we can call upon Jesus and in the day time we have the Holy Spirit leading us. Look for the signs of God going before you. They are there as a reminder that you are not alone.

Until next week remember God is already ahead of you on your journey.

Christopher Euphfa 

MONDAY REFLECTION – Seek God! Seek Good!

Monday Reflection – September 16, 2019

Seek God! Seek Good!

Prelude: Today is recognized across the Moravian Church worldwide as Ministers’ Covenant Day. It was on this day in 1741, at a synod in London, that Jesus was recognized as Chief Elder and Head of the Moravian Church. Moravian clergy now observe this significant day by renewing their response to the call of Christ.

Seek good and not evil, that you may live. Amos 5:14

The words of today’s Watchword are found elsewhere in this chapter, so they are almost like a refrain. Almost, because the focus of the other two that precede verse 14 summons the people to seek God. In verse 4 we hear, “This is what the Lord says to the house of Israel: ‘Seek me and live…’” In verse 6 we hear the clarion call from the prophet Amos, “Seek the Lord and live.” I believe the sequence of these instructions is deliberate and critical. God initiates and invites the people to seek him; then the prophet calls the people to seek God. The people are then challenged to seek good and not evil. It is only in responding positively to God’s invitation to seek him that we are able to pursue good and not evil.

But, what does it mean to seek God?  Seek here does not mean to search for something that is lost. We have already been invited into a relationship with God; we already know where God is. We do not have to search God out as if he is lost somewhere. Seek means to turn to God in trust and confidence. It does not mean to seek to get something from God, but rather to seek God for who he is. It is a desire to know God, and know him more and more. It is to be diligent, fervent, and persevering in seeking after God.

When we seek after God, we are also seeking good, and when we pursue good, we depart from evil. We cannot seek good without first putting away evil; yet we must wholehearted seek good, or else evil will linger. This invitation and command breaks in like a beam of sunshine in the darkness. The fearful doom already spoken of by Amos is conditional. When a moral change takes place in and among the people, God will dispense his love, compassion and mercy. God’s people should thrust their passions upon God and focus their minds and actions to the practice of true holiness and virtue. Seeking God should be translated into everyday living, where we strive to be like Christ.

We must note that there are awesome benefits to seeking God and doing good. The text says, “…that you may live.” Life is the reward. To live here means to live abundantly or everlastingly. Yes, we may experience material abundance and a great life physically, but there is a far more significant benefit – eternal life. On the other hand, those who don’t seek God are in for a rude awakening. Devastation and perilous times will be experienced when we live outside of God’s will and counsel. It would do us well to seek God, seek good, and denounce evil. Paul offers a word of counsel in today’s New Testament text in Philippians 2:5:  Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.

Jermaine Gibson

FRIDAY REFLECTION – Jesus will help you

Friday Reflection
September 13, 2019

 Jesus will help you

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Hebrews 2:18 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/heb.2.18.NIV

“The remembrance of his own sorrows and temptations, makes Christ mindful of the trials of his people, and he is ready to help them.”
–  Matthew Henry –

Happy Friday friends,
As we journey through the pligrim land we should be assured that we have a friend who walks with us . One who keeps us safe, provides for our needs and most of all, understands our sorrows.

Today’s reflection is one that reveals two truths that we must keep before us as we walk this walk of Faith.

1. Jesus suffered: There are some theologians who believe that since Christ is the son of God, he could not have really “suffered”. But I am reminding us today, that Christ did suffer. To the point where he said “LORD IF IT IS POSSIBLE LET THIS CUP PASS FROM ME” He took on human flesh and though he was without sin, he had every single emotions and feelings we humans are facing. Happiness, sadness, sorrowful etc….

2. He understands our temptations and he is able to HELP: Jesus was tempted, persecuted, disrespected and treated poorly. Why? because he was the Son of God.
 So it is with us today, we will be disrespected, tempted, persecuted and treated poorly because we identify ourselves with Christ. Yes it is hard and seem to be getting worse,;but today’s reflection is reminding us that Jesus knows all about our troubles and is able to help us!

All it takes is for us to believe that he can and reach out to him for the help we need.  He understands! Because he too was tempted. Jesus is not asking us to face the sufferings of life on our own, he knows the difficulties of live, because he lived it and he’s willing to help us though ours

Untill next week,
Jesus will help you!
BELIEVE ON HIM, AND HE WILL BRING YOU TO A PLACE OF PEACE

Blessings
Shaneka Raymore-Euphfa

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – A Life of Worship

Wednesday Reflection – September 11, 2019

A Life of Worship

Prelude: As I thought about today, I believe we cannot escape remembering the devastation of what is called ‘9/11’. It was as if the world stood still. History.com summarizes the events as follows:  “On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks…”Today brings back bitter and painful memories for many across the world. We pray for their strength and perseverance. Today’s Watchword says: You must not distort justice; you must not show partiality; and you must not accept bribes, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.Deuteronomy 16:19

 In the context of today’s text, Moses continues his final speech as he prepares the people to enter the Promised Land, a place he would be able to experience. He started with the basics and has developed a very well delivered guide for how they must stay the course in serving God. The land they are about to enter is flowing with milk and honey, bountiful, fertile and productive. However, there is the present threat that they may get distracted and derailed by the plenty, that they forget God and the principles of God. Prosperity may blind their vision and purpose. They must stay focused.

In chapter 16, Moses outlines the procedures for three feasts- Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. The people were to ensure that their corporate worship life was in order and the stipulations adhered to. Interestingly, immediately thereafter Moses announces that judges and officers were to be appointed to administer the judicial affairs, and then follows today’s text. The judges are to rule justly and with equity and do not allow themselves to be bribed. Bribery and justice are opponents; and those who are in the right will suffer if the judges are bribed.

I believe the essence of this instruction in the context of the three feasts is to point out that while observing the rituals and worship requirements is important, they become of no value if our engagement with each other is unjust. Worship is not just confined to our sanctuaries and personal or family devotions. Worship is a way of life. In our thoughts, words and actions God must be glorified. So many people compartmentalize their lives, so there is the secular and there is the sacred parts. Not so with the Lord! We are called to live total lives that honour God. Hear today’s New Testament text: Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness. 2 Timothy 2:19 (NASB).

We may not be like the terrorists who continue to wreak havoc across the world, bombing up places and killing people. However, the words we say to others and about others can be so harmful that they leave long-term debilitating effects. Our actions also come under scrutiny. We ought to demonstrate the love and compassion of Christ in all our interactions and engagements with others. May our aim always be that God is pleased with us and his name glorified.

Jermaine Gibson

TUESDAY REFLECTION Guidance and Protection

Guidance and Protection

Greetings friends. It’s Tuesday September 10. I am Bevon White reflecting on today’s Watchword. This week marks the beginning of the eleventh year of my doing Tuesday’s Reflection on the Daily Watchword. What began as an email of part of a Radio program in the Cayman Islands, continues in written and vocal formats today. During the past ten years I have received responses from persons I do not know, from persons I had no idea was receiving the devotion and from places ranging from Canada to South Africa. I am thankful to God that he has used, and continues to use this medium to bless persons far and wide. I crave your prayers for inspiration and spiritual strength to continue to encourage and uplift lives through this medium. 

Today’s watchword is from Psalm 84: 11 “The Lord God is a sun and shield”. Charles Spurgeon describes Psalm 84 as one of the sweetest Psalms of Peace. The Psalm was written by the sons of Korah and is an expression of their deep love and dedication to the temple. The Psalmists declare that God’s temple was indeed the place to be and whenever they were away from the temple, there existed a longing in their soul for God’s house. This longing gave hope to the worshipper as regardless of what they were going through, they could look forward to the joy of coming together in God’s house for worship. Whenever one was experiencing a dry spell in their lives, they would always find hope in knowing that worship would leave them refreshed and renewed. Worship was thus anticipated and the house of God was seen as a place of redemption, a place of restoration, a place of reestablishment and renewal. Do you feel that way about church? What does it mean for you to go to God’s house each week? What do you see yourself as loosing if you do not go? 

The place of worship will become to us, what we uphold the object of our worship to be. In other words, Church and worship is as important to us as God is. The Psalmist sees God as a sun and shield. This is the only place in the Bible where God is explicitly called a sun. The sun gives light, offers guidance and is generally a sign of a good day. A shield is that part of the armor that protects, or prevents the arrows of the enemy from striking that fatal blow. God as sun and shield guides and protects those who delight in worshipping him. God meets us where we need Him. When we are surrounded by the darkness of this sinful world, he is the light guiding us to Himself, when we are bombarded by the attacks of the enemy of the church, He becomes our shield and protector. At our weakest He is our strength and at our lowest he offers grace and mercy to lift us up and carry us through. In our need he supplies and in our sickness he heals. What a mighty God we serve!  What would we do without God’s guidance and protection? Thus Paul declares in Phil 4: 19, the doctrinal text for today, My God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. God loves to meet us in His House. There he embraces us as our guide and protector.

Till next week then, God’s guidance and protection be yours. Amen.