WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – Remember!

Wednesday Reflection – October 30, 2019

Remember!

Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered. Psalm 105:5

Psalms 105 and 106 appear to be purposefully arranged and ordered. G. Campbell Morgan agrees and points out that, “This (Psalm 105) and the following psalm are companions. They reveal the two sides of the relation between God and his people during a long period. This one sings the song of his faithfulness and power; while the next tells the sad story of repeated failure and rebellion on the part of his people.”

David summons the people, “O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples. Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually” (vs 1-4). It is in this context that David utters the words of today’s Watchword, “Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered”.

The call to remember God’s wonderful and marvelous works reflects that there is the constant danger among God’s people to forget. It dishonors God when we forget his great works. Indeed, we will always drift to forgetfulness if we do not actively remember. It’s amazing, sometimes even distressing, what we choose to remember. We sometimes remember foolish and evil things, occupy our minds with the negatives, and refuse to get over unpleasant things that people have said and done to us. Yet, we fail to recall the glorious deeds of Yahweh. If we would keep God’s wonderful acts front and centre of our minds, our faith would be stronger, our gratitude warmer, our devotion more fervent, and our love more intense.”

Not only are we to recall God’s wonderful works, but also his miracles and judgments. God has wrought numberless miracles before the eyes of the Israelites. Theirs have been a journey with God full of miracles as God demonstrated his love and omnipotence. In the face of the impotent gods of the world, there is our God of omnipotence, for which we are living witnesses. God’s judgements that he has uttered must not be forgotten. God had but to speak and the enemies of his people were sorely afflicted; his threats were not mere words, but brought destruction on his adversaries. God speaks and it is done.

Today’s New Testament text reminds us of one of those wonderful, miraculous acts of Jesus, “Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled” (Matthew 14:19-20). Jesus fed over five thousand people with only five loaves and two fish, with twelve basketfuls left over. What an amazing God!! Let’s practice the principle of remembering God’s marvelous works!

Jermaine Gibson 

MONDAY REFLECTION – Knowing God

Monday Reflection – October 28, 2019

Knowing God

The people who know their God will display strength and take action. Daniel 11:32 NASB

The Watchword for today strikes a powerful and ever-necessary note when it comes to focusing on our relationship with God. The question we have to ask ourselves is whether or not we know God. There is a vast difference between knowing God and knowing about God. Knowing about God is to have some measure of knowledge or understanding, to be exposed to information regarding God. Even the fool know about God, for it is only the fool who has said in his heart, “There is no God.” On the other hand, to know God is about a personal intimate relationship with God where we have daily conversations with him, and seek his advice before making any decisions. Knowing God is about looking to him daily for comfort and strength; where God is our closest friend and confidant.

But, how do you get to know God in this way?

1. By learning of him – There is only one textbook where we may know God in truth, and that is the Bible. A lot of books have been written about man’s concepts and ideas about God, but only in the Bible does God reveal himself to us. It shows how God related to humanity through history, and how we can relate to him.

2. Through Jesus Christ – In Hebrews 1:2 we hear, “God who in different times and in various ways spoke to man through his prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his own dear Son.” Jesus is the final and perfect revelation of God to humans, for he is God. When Philip said to Jesus, just show us the Father and we will be satisfied, Jesus answered, “Have I been with you all of this time, and have you not seen me, he that has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-9). Just before this, Jesus had declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

The text for today not only focuses on knowing God, but points to the outcome and benefits of doing so.

1. We shall display strength – We are in a spiritual battle in which physical force is ineffective, for we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but spiritual powers. In the context of this spiritual warfare, Paul says, “Be strong in the Lord, and the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10). Our strength is in God; our power comes from him. Indeed, we can be a physical wimp, but a spiritual giant when we seek strength from God. Yet, we can be a physical giant, and a spiritual wimp when we depend on ourselves.

2. We shall take action or we shall do exploits – Hebrews 11 describes the exploits of men and women who knew their God. Hear verse 34, “They quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.” When we truly know God, God does amazing exploits in, through and with us.

The bottom line question is, do we really know God?                                                                    

 Jermaine Gibson

THURSDAY REFLECTION – Take it to the Lord in prayer

Thursday Reflection – October 24, 2019

Take it to the Lord in prayer

“She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly.” 1 Samuel 1: 10

Good day friends! In this abbreviated version of Thursday reflection I want us to look at Hannah and how she dealt with a certain problem she had. Hannah was married to Elkanah, but she could not conceived. As a result of this she was laughed at and mocked by others. Despite Elkanah giving her special treatment, it could not take away what she was experiencing. As I read the text a few things stood out:

1.    We will face challenges and these challenges are God ordained.Hannah was barren. She didn’t cause this by any action of hers. It just happened. 

2.    People add to these challenges, as Hannah was mocked and ridicule. Likewise we will encounter people who will mock and ridicule us because of what we go through.

3.    Challenges are overwhelming at times.

4.    In the midst of her challenges God provided a support system for Hannah. Elkanah gave her a double portion, loved her and supported her. In our times of crisis the Lord provides a support system for us through the help of others.

5.    Some challenges are harder to deal with. Even though the Lord provided a support system the pain of not having a child was too much. Sometimes even with the support there are moments when we break down under the challenge of it all. 

In times like these what do you do? Take it to the Lord in prayer.

6.    She prayed in anguish, with tears and sorrow. We shouldn’t be afraid to pour out our heart and entire being to the Lord. Don’t withhold what you’re facing. Take it to the Lord in prayer.  The songwriter said what a friend we have in Jesus, all our griefs and sins to bear. What a privilege to carry EVERYTHING to God in prayer.

7.    Some people will not understand your tears and prayers, but don’t worry God does. The priest Samuel thought Hannah was drunk, but she was just pouring out her heart to the Lord. Cry out to God and do not care what others might think of you.

8.    Continue to worship God until your prayers have been answered. After praying in the Temple the text tells us that she got up the next morning and worshiped before the Lord. Mix your petitions with worship for God will come through.

Until next week and the rest of your life take it to the Lord in prayer.  

Christopher Euphfa 

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – The Jacob-Like Return

Wednesday Reflection – October 23, 2019

The Jacob-Like Return

Return to your God, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.

Hosea 12:6

The book of Hosea is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and even unbelievable books in the Bible. It is filled with drama akin to a love affair with many challenges and heartaches. The faithfulness of the man and the unfaithfulness of the woman is the central theme of this book. However, this love affair is not between two humans. Rather, it is a love affair between God (the man) and Israel (the woman). It plays out in a dramatic form as the prophet Hosea is summoned by God to marry Gomer, a woman of whoredom, to graphically and practically depict the message of the faithful God to a faithless Israel.    

In chapter 12, God points out sins of Ephraim and Judah. Verses 1-6 says, Ephraim herds the wind, and pursues the east wind all day long; they multiply falsehood and violence; they make a treaty with Assyria… The Lord has an indictment against Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways, and repay him according to his deeds. In the womb he tried to supplant his brother, and in his manhood he strove with God. He strove with the angel and prevailed, he wept and sought his favor; he met him at Bethel, and there he spoke with him… But as for you, return to your God, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.”

God looks back at the patriarch Jacob and how Israel in Hosea’s day was just like their forefather Jacob in the days of Genesis. In ancient Israel, a “heel-catcher” was a double-dealer, someone who achieved their goals through crafty and dishonest means. Israel had become a deceiver and trickster. Hosea recalls the struggle between Jacob and the angel. Jacob refused to submit to God, so God demanded submission from him in a literal wrestling match. He notes that Jacob wept in the struggle. Jacob prevailed in the only way anyone can when they struggle against God. We prevail when we lose ourselves, surrendering to God. Jacob wept demonstrating how desperate and broken he was as he hung on to the Lord, pleading only for a blessing. Hosea now calls on Israel to return to God the same way, by surrendering to him.

Like Israel, we have failed God many times. We have been outright idolatrous and adulterous. Hosea points us to the way back to God – surrendering ourselves to God and clinging to him. In this process he will break us and shape us into his own image. We may walk away limping, but it is for our own good. This transformation will enable us to hold fast to love and justice, and be patient for the Lord. Such transformation will lead us to “…rid ourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save our souls” James 1:21.  

Jermaine Gibson 

Return to God and Rebuild.

Tuesday Reflection – October 22, 2019

Return to God and Rebuild.

The record of the encounter between the prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel is well known. There were four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and four hundred prophets of Asherah. These religions had been introduced among the Israelites by the gentile Queen Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab. In his displeasure at Israel’s embracing these false god’s and forgetting their covenant with God, God caused a severe drought to affect Israel. After three years of drought, the prophet Elijah challenged these prophets to prove which God would answer by fire. He allowed the prophets of Baal to call on their god first and after nothing happened following hours of their calling and mutilating themselves, it was Elijah’s turn. Before Elijah prayed however, there was something the people needed to do. We read this in today’s watchword from 1 Kings 18: 30. Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. For God’s action to be seen and accepted, one must be grounded in their faith. 

Israel had strayed from God and begun worshipping idols. They prayed to these idols rather than to God and ascribed God’s blessings and miracles as coming from idols and not from God. Elijah’s challenge was therefore not only to prove that God was who He proclaimed Himself to be, but to get the covenant people to return to covenant living. This had to begin with a return and refocus on God. With the failure of Baal to act, God was now left to remind Israel who he was. It had to begin with Israel’s return to God. The prophet therefore calls the people to draw near to him. He is God’s representative. He was the lone prophet standing for God. When the Israelites were stranded by the Red Sea, Moses had challenged them in Exodus 14: 13 to ‘stand still and see the salvation of the Lord’. In the same way, today’s watchword is a challenge to the people to come closer to God so that they could see God’s action, God’s salvation. When we learn to come closer to God, we will realize just how close God has always been to us. 

Closeness to God also reveals brokenness. The first thing they saw as the people returned to God, was the broken-down altar of God, which they repaired. When we return to God He will always abundantly pardon. Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and boundless in loyal love. (Joel 2: 13) Our return to God is an abatement of God’s justice for God will act in mercy towards the repentant. As we encounter brokenness around us, we who are God’s tools are expected to do something about it. What are the areas of brokenness around you where God is calling you be a solution? God calls us in our drifting and our brokenness to return to Him through service to our fellowmen. May we pause today to examine our lives in order to discover those areas in which we have drifted away from God and may our repairing of those areas through Christ, leave us with a  closeness  to each other. Returning to God should lead to rebuilding relationships, both heavenly and earthly. Amen.  
Bevon White

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – No Delay!!

Wednesday Reflection – October 16, 2019

No Delay!!

Do not delay me, since the Lord has made my journey successful. Genesis 24:56

It has always been said that delay is danger. We are often prone to delay regarding a decision we are to make or an action that we are to take. Not just that, but we are also prone to procrastinate. We sometimes get in the mode of putting off things, when we many times know that the time to do so is now. We keep pushing things further down the road, especially when we do not really want to do it, it is likely to bring discomfort, or we fear the consequences. We many times miss out on so much because we do not seize the ‘nowness’ of the moment.    

Abraham sent his servant back to his country and kindred to find a wife for his son, Isaac. He reasoned with his servant that his son’s wife should not be from among the Canaanites where he was living. Rather, Isaac’s wife should come from his own tribe and people. His servant queried about how practical and plausible this task would be. However, Abraham assured him that since God had made a promise to him, everything would work out. Abraham’s servant set out with ten camels and other things. When he arrived at the well at Nahor, he prayed to God that the girl who comes to draw water from the well and offer both him and the camels water to drink, that she be the one.

Amazingly, the text says that before he had finished praying, here comes Rebekah who fulfilled the words of the servant’s prayer. The servant honoured God for answered prayer and headed to Rebekah’s house where he made arrangements for her to return with him. Rebekah’s brothers and mother wanted her to stay ten days more, but the servant would have none of it. The words of today’s Watchword are his response to them. He urged them to send them off immediately so he may fulfill his master’s mandate. The mission was not yet complete; he had to report his successful enterprise to Abraham. More than that, the servant noted that he needed to depart quickly because he was on Yahweh’s mission.

This ought to be our disposition and determination. Sometimes we get caught up in the success at a given point and lose sight of the reality that the mission is not yet complete. Surely, we should celebrate accomplishments as God’s people, but it must not be an occasion to stop and relax thinking this is it! The mission is not complete until God says so! In fact, the mission is not complete until the Master returns to usher us home. We ought to be ever on full-time duties seeking to fulfill God’s call on our lives and that of the church.

Today’s text invites us to rid ourselves of complacency, delay and procrastination. We must get on with the work we have to do. Hear Jesus in John 9:4, “We must work the works of him who sent mewhile it is day; night is coming when no one can work.”

Jermaine Gibson 

THURSDAY REFLECTION – Lord forgive me

Thursday Reflection – October 10, 2019

Lord forgive me

“I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely.” Hosea 14:4

Sin… It is so rampant in our society. There is hardly a place we can go without seeing its ugly face. We see it in the workplace and at home. We see it in our communities and at school. We see it at church and even in ourselves. The people of Israel had sinned and turned away from God.  The upper class were doing well, but they oppressed the poor. The people chased after other loves such as power, pleasure, money and recognition. The temptations of the world became seductive to these people of God and this resulted in disloyalty to God.

God through Hosea called the people to repentance. He called them to leave their position of status, power, pleasure, money and recognition. Instead of trusting in the so-called “mighty” of this world and self-created idols, God challenged them to trust in Him; the one that saves. If the people repent and leave this lifestyle behind, then God will heal their disloyalty and love them freely.

As we dive into text for today I want us to reflect on the two phrases made. I begin with the latter first:

 I will love them freely

Sin hampers the free love of God. God has so much love for us that it is unimaginable; we cannot even begin to fathom it. But when we sin it begins to strain the love God has for us. God’s love is like any other relationship. Once a partner is disloyal in the relationship it puts a strain on the relationship and makes it harder for pure, wholesome love to take place. What joy it is when we love without fear or consequences. What happiness there is when no party have to worry about unfaithfulness, vulnerability, being hurt or taken advantage of? When that is done we are able to love freely. This is just a small glimpse into the type of free love God has for us, but when sin is active it slowly erodes that love to the point of punishment. When we confess our sins God is able to love us freely. It is a love that cannot truly be explained, but only felt. It is just amazing.

God will heal their disloyalty

There is nothing more difficult to deal with in a relationship than disloyalty. The people of Israel were disloyal to God, for they found pleasure, comfort, and security in their status, wealth, political relations, and idols. They placed these things above God. They cheated on God with things that were temporal. Just imagine, God has been faithful in all his endeavors, but this was not enough as the people sought a physical high. How often do we abandon God for this things we love to do?

 God encouraged the people to repent and he will heal their disloyalty. In this relationship with God, he forgives our deepest transgression. It is not easy to forgive someone who hurts you and sometimes even after you forgive that person there is still a strain on the relationship as things will never be the same. Here, God does not hold our sins against us.  He forgives us and heal our broken relationship with Him. He restores it to its factory setting of love.  

When we sincerely ask God’s forgiveness He releases that overwhelming feeling love that heals our broken relationship with him. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Until next week never be afraid to sincerely confess your sins.  

Christopher Euphfa 

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – Go back to Bethel!

Wednesday Reflection – October 09, 2019

Go Back to Bethel Prelude:Today marks two years since God led me to start Monday Reflection. I continue to marvel as I reflect on God’s action among us and the development of this ministry. We now have Reflections for each day, except Sundays. I wish to record thanks to Sister Shaneka Raymore-Euphfa, and Brothers Bevon White, Christopher Euphfa and Dominic Blair. Your commitment to this ministry is highly appreciated. I know it takes much sacrifice, but God has been faithful in inspiring and enabling us to persevere week after week. Ebenezer! Hitherto hath the Lord helped us!

Reflection: Jacob said, “Come, let us go up to Bethel, that I may make an altar there to the God who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” Genesis 35:3

Go back to Bethel!

This was God’s instruction to Jacob. God told Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.” Jacob had gone to Shechem instead of Bethel, where he was supposed to be. Now at last Jacob decides to obey God.  Jacob had to leave Shechem and go to Bethel. There had to be a departure from one and a new direction and destination set. There was a new place for Jacob and his family to dwell.
The first thing he was required to do when he got to Bethel was to make an altar to God. He is to resume a life of worship there. As Jacob looked back on his walk with God, the first meeting with God at Bethel must have been a high point. Genesis 28:10-22 describes the awesome experience that he had where he fell asleep and had a dream of a ladder that went up into heaven and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. God announced to him that he is giving him and his descendants the land on which he laid. God also promised his abiding presence. Interestingly, because of that experience, Jacob set up a stone and called the place Bethel. It is to this very place that God now summons Jacob to return.

It seems that Jacob refused to think that the best years of his life with God were behind him. He returned to this memorable place and God blessed it. Spurgeon says that a revival of old memories is often most useful to us, especially to revive the memory of our conversion and of our love for God. Jacob called his family to reject the foreign gods and purify themselves as they head back to Bethel. There he will worship God, the same God who answered him in his day of distress and has been with him all the way. Bethel then was to be a place of remembrance and thanksgiving for all that God has been and done. Where is our Bethel? The life transforming place that God is calling us back to? The place that requires rejection of the things of the world and reconnection with God? The place where we recall God’s faithfulness to us? The place of thanksgiving? God calls us back there.

Paul reminds us today in Ephesians 5:20, “Give thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Jermaine Gibson 

TUESDAY REFLECTION – God Delivers

Tuesday Reflection – October 08, 2019

God Delivers.

Picture David before he becomes king, running away from King Saul who has sworn to kill him. In 1 Samuels 21 he goes to the Ahimelech, the priest of Nob where he begs bread for himself and his men. The only bread available was holy bread, bread of the presence that had been removed from the presence of the Lord and replaced with fresh bread. Only the priests were to eat this bread, but Because David and his men had kept themselves pure, they were given the bread. Next David went to the city of Gath where Goliath had come from. There he sought refuge from King Achish but when the people recognized him, David pretended to be a mad man, hitting his head against the gate and drooling on himself. The king dismissed the claims of those who said it was David, blaming them for allowing another mad man into the city. David later wrote Psalm 34 in response to these experiences. In verse 4, today’s watchword, he testifies, I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Like David, we too know our Lord as the one who delivers. 

As deliverer, Jesus is able to rescue us from harm and danger. Psalm 18: 2 says The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. In Hebrew, he is known as Jehovah-Mephalti, which means the Lord my deliverer. Those who trust in the Lord will be delivered by the Lord. In verse 6 of  Psalm 34, David testifies, In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles. Such deliverance is promised to the faithful friends. God is not far from us neither is he untouched by what is happening around us or to us. Indeed He is a God who stands ready to deliver. Thus the prophet Isaiah challenges us in chapter 55: 6, to Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. 

It is noteworthy that only God guarantees our delivery. With God all things are possible to those who believe. Such delivery is often granted in situations which were thought impossible. Think of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis, well past the child-bearing age and her being barren. They became pregnant and Isaac was born. Think of Jairus’ daughter in the gospels. Declared dead, yet Jesus brings her back to life. Think of Lazarus, already buried 4 days, but Jesus called him out of the tomb. Indeed our God is a God of impossibilities. Today you may be faced with an impossible situation, something that you have been struggling with. David’s testimony can also be your testimony: I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.  I believe I need to remind someone today of the God we serve. He is a God of order, a God who provides and protects, but most importantly for us this time a God who delivers. Trust Him as David did. Trust Him as Daniel did in the lion’s den and the lion’s mouths were locked. Trust him as the three Hebrew boys did in the fiery furnace and danced among the flames. Trust him as that lame man did at the pool and declared ‘Lord if you want to, you can heal me’). I implore you friends, trust God with your situations for He is a God who delivers. Like David we will be able to say; I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Amen.

Bevon White 

MONDAY REFLECTION – A Song of Praise

Monday Reflection – October 07, 2019

A Song of Praise

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer. 2 Samuel 22:2

In 2 Samuel 22, David raises a song of praise dedicated to the Lord. This song appears almost as David’s final words. Hence, it may rightfully be seen as a summary thanksgiving for God’s many deliverances of David throughout his long life. Except for minor variations, this song is the same as Psalm 18. Indeed, this song is a great summary of David’s whole character and attitude through life. David possessed deep convictions –the absolute sovereignty of Jehovah, God’s omnipotent power to deliver, the need for humans to obey God’s law, and the assurance that in the case of such obedience God always acts in the best interest of his people. Such convictions constitute the underlying strength of David’s character.

David begins by declaring that God is his rock, fortress and deliverer. David piles title upon title in praising God. God’s work for David was so big and comprehensive that it couldn’t be contained in one title. David had personally experienced God’s action and deliverance time and time again including, from Goliath, from Saul, from backsliding, from Israel’s enemies, from Absalom, and from his own sinful passions. God has been with him all the way, and never abandoned him. It is no wonder that David trusted God, entrusted himself in the hands of God. The truth is that when we see God for who he is, it is easy to trust him. When we know God is our rock, fortress, deliverer, shield, stronghold and Saviour, it is natural to trust him completely.

When we reflect on our own lives and recall all that God has done, we should raise a song of praise like David. Do we spend time remembering how and what God has brought us through? Do we recall all that God has delivered us from? The truth is, so many times we don’t even realize or know what God has saved us from. Sometimes we are delayed so we escape a tragedy. Sometimes we face a challenge but are prevented from having to deal with a greater one. This is just how awesome and wonderful God is! These realities should drive us to praise God and give him the glory that he so rightful deserves.

In today’s New Testament text in 2 Corinthians 1:10, Paul joins David in declaring his unhesitant hope and unrelenting confidence in God. He says, “On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us”. When we recall and celebrate God’s omnipotent hand in our lives, it gives us a resolute confidence and hope that we can face anything that comes our way, because God is able. And it’s never about us, but all about God.

Till next week, remember “…he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

(1 John 4:4)

Jermaine Gibson